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GOP Is On Hunt For Candidate

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By Claire Walla

Though Southampton Town Democrats and Republicans held nominating conventions last month, one party is still on the hunt for its lead candidate.

According to Southampton Town GOP Chairman Ernie Wruck, the party will have until July 14 to find a candidate for town supervisor and turn in its final petition.

On May 19, the Republican Party announced current Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi as its choice of candidate to run for town supervisor against incumbent Anna Throne-Host (Ind.) in the town’s elections this November. The nomination was thrown into a veritable ping-pong match, during which Nuzzi — who had previously announced he would not seek higher office — took two weeks to contemplate the offer, before finally, officially declining.

Both Republican candidates for the two open town council seats — newcomers Bill Hughes and Christine Scalera — in recognizing their newness to the position of town board, have said they will not seek nominations to the supervisor’s slot.

As to who the next nominee would be, Wruck only said his party is “having conversations,” and as to whether or not the GOP has narrowed down a list of candidates, Wruck added, “I would rather not say.”

But, he did hint that the party will not limit its focus to those already versed in politics.

“We’re looking at a handful of people, and I’m not precluding that somebody might come out of the blue,” he explained.

Then, alluding to current East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, Wruck added, “it might be that a former executive from Disney sees an opportunity and wants to step-up.”

Wruck added that sometimes the best person for the job comes from a non-traditional line of thinking.

In terms of altering its ballot before November, Wruck said his party won’t have to jump through too many hoops.

In fact, a member of the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE) — who preferred not to be mentioned by name in this story — explained that neither party will have official candidates until July 14, when petitions are due to the board of elections. (The first day to file is July 11.) At that point, candidates will legally have four days in which to refuse their party’s nomination.

So for now, the GOP need merely select a candidate and collect 500 signatures for his or her petition before that date.

“It’s no big deal,” the BOE representative said of Nuzzi refusing his party’s nomination. “People do it all the time.”

The as yet unnamed GOP candidate for supervisor will join town council candidates Hughes and Scalera on the Republican Party Ticket; competing against incumbent supervisor Anna Throne-Holst (Ind.), incumbent councilwoman Bridget Fleming (Dem.) and newcomer Brad Bender (Ind.) who is running for the other town council seat that is up for grabs.