In a stunning turn of events, the Southampton Town Conservative Committee announced on Friday, July 24, that it wouldn’t back current town surpervisor Linda Kabot in her bid for reelection. The group had previously supported Jim Malone as their pick for supervisor, but last week Malone opted to run for a town council seat instead.
“After careful consideration we concluded we did not have a viable second choice after Jim [Malone] decided to step aside. Unlike the GOP who had a back up with Republican Supervisor Linda Kabot, we did not have another Conservative in the wings that we could put forward. Looking across the political spectrum we did not see another candidate we were comfortable extending the privilege of our Wilson Pikula to,” said Susan Heckman, the party treasurer, in a press release distributed on Friday.
Kabot will still have the nod of the town’s GOP, but of the loss of the Conservative Committee nod she said in a release on Sunday, July 26, “I do not know who is calling the shots behind the scenes, but I know it is not the Suffolk County Conservative Chair Ed Walsh in this instance. I have my suspicions that Republican Committee Chairman Marcus Stinchi and former Town Supervisor Skip Heaney have a hand in this high stakes poker game and the obvious delay tactics. This is disappointing and very telling. In politics, one must always watch one’s back and also be prepared to counter-act such political maneuvers.”
Only last Monday, Kabot announced securing both the Republican and Conservative nominations for the general elections in November. It appeared the parties reshuffled their ballots in order to circumvent a primary between Malone and Kabot. In a recent statement released by Kabot, she asserts that Malone failed to file the necessary paperwork with the Suffolk County Board of Elections in time for Kabot to receive the supervisor nomination of the Conservative Party.
“I began smelling a rat when there were several unanswered phone calls and emails to Jim Malone over the course of July 22 and 23,” stated Kabot in the release.
Heckman noted that Jim Malone is the Chairman of the party, but took a leave of absence from the position when he first announced his intent to run for the supervisor position.
“As such [Malone] was neither part of these deliberations or the vote of the executive committee to not fill this vacancy,” contended Heckman.
“We are happy to see that a needless and costly Republican primary has been avoided. Most importantly we are thrilled to see that Councilman Chris Nuzzi and now Council candidate Jim Malone will have the opportunity to run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines,” reported Heckman.
Kabot, however, called the move a “betrayal of trust” and said, “Trust, honesty and communication are key to ensure teamwork and a united front.”