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GOP Flips: Kabot Will Face Throne-Holst After All

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The Southampton Town Republican Committee is poised to formally announce that Linda Kabot will head up their ticket this November. At its convention last month, Kabot, the incumbent town supervisor, was put aside by the local GOP in favor of James Malone.

But in an effort to avoid a primary Kabot had threatened to wage, the GOP hierarchy this week instead reached an agreement with the incumbent’s campaign to move Malone into the town council race, opening up the supervisor’s nomination to Kabot.

The move put newcomer Bill Wright — the party’s original choice for one of two available council seats — out of the running. Malone will be joined in the race by incumbent councilman Chris Nuzzi.

“History has shown it has not typically been the Democrats that have defeated local Republican campaigns for town office”, said Southampton Republican Committee Chairman Marcus Stinchi, “rather we have defeated ourselves with costly primary fights that have left our party divided in the November elections and more often than not with multiple Republican candidates on different lines dividing the electorate. We saw most recently in 2007 that two Republican candidates for supervisor garnered over 65% of the vote with similar results at the town board level only to lose a town board seat. A similar situation occurred in 1999.”

“At the end of the day”, continued Stinchi, “between the two potential campaigns we collected over 2,000 signatures and this agreement to allow Supervisor Kabot to seek re-election on the Republican line and Jim Malone moving over to run with Chris Nuzzi for the two town council seats, allows for all of these Republican signatories to not be disenfranchised and gives us the best chance to retain a majority on the town board which would be consistent with what has been typically expressed at the polls in the general elections.”

 “I was excited to learn yesterday that political leaders have come to realize that greater success can be achieved by joining forces and coming together,” said Kabot in a press release issued today, Tuesday, July 21. “Along my journey in politics, I have learned that it is necessary to re-adapt to changes and to embrace opportunities to move forward towards a brighter future.”

The three, all running on the Republican and Conservative party lines, will face a challenge by the Democratic-endorsed Anna Throne-Holst for supervisor, presently an independent town council member, and Sally Pope and Brigid Fleming for the two available town council seats. Pope is currently filling a seat on the council that had been vacated by Kabot in 2007 when she was elected supervisor. The seat was originally given to Dan Russo, a Republican, by Kabot. Russo, however, lost the seat to Pope in an election last year.

“Everyone took the long road home,” said Kabot, “but we finally got here.” The incumbent supervisor had approached Malone on a prior occasion in April with the proposition of building a 2009 “Dream Team” with her and Councilman Chris Nuzzi, according to the release. However, in what Kabot’s release characterized as a power play, the local Republican Committee nominated Malone, who also serves as Southampton Town Conservative Party chairman. Kabot responded by gathering 825 Republican signatures to force a primary. She also filed an additional 119 signatures of Republican voters in order to challenge the party positions of top leaders, including that of GOP Chairman Marcus Stinchi, said the release.

Kabot credited Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh for making it happen. “He recognized Jim’s potential as a candidate to strengthen the ticket, as well as the qualities that would make him an asset to the Town Board.”

In addition to the change in town endorsements. it was announced that Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman would be re-nominated as the Republican and Conservative candidate, adding to endorsements by his own Independence Party, and the Working Families Party.

 “It has been said that it is best to unite and lead and those are the watchwords to the wise,” concluded Kabot.

A news conference detailing the day’s changes is expected to occur later this week. 

Top: Linda Kabot (right) will face Anna Throne-Holst (left) in November’s election for Southampton Town supervisor.