It’s Official: Cantwell Earns Democratic Nomination for East Hampton Town Supervisor


By Kathryn G. Menu

East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell was officially tapped last Wednesday night to be the Democratic candidate for supervisor.

He will also run on the Independence Party line.

But the drama at Wednesday night’s nominating convention came down to the town council race. While the party’s screening committee recommended Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, Zachary Cohen — who narrowly lost a supervisor race to incumbent Republican Bill Wilkinson in 2011 — was nominated from the floor for town council. Quiet Skies Coalition chairwoman Kathy Cunningham also received a nomination.

However, according to East Hampton Democratic Committee chairwoman Jeanne Frankl, ultimately the screening committee’s recommendations were selected, albeit with Cohen’s nomination making the decision a close one.

Burke-Gonzalez, an account director with Blumenfeld and Fleming in Montauk, has served as a member of the Springs School Board as its president since 2011, first elected to that body in 2004. Potter served on the East Hampton Town Board from 1998 to 2005 and was previously a member of the town planning board.

They will join Cantwell on the ticket, who is retiring from his position with the village in July.

While the Working Families party has yet to announce its local recommendations, on Monday Frankl said she expects the support of that party for the Democratic committee’s selections for town supervisor and council.

“I think it is an absolutely wonderful slate,” she said. “We have had our challenges, but I think all the people involved in these issues were wonderful candidates. It’s a terrific slate and we are going to win — win big.”

“I am very pleased to accept their nomination and to be running with both the Democratic and Independence parties,” said Cantwell on Monday. “I look forward to when we can have a real debate on the issues that face East Hampton.”

According to Frankl, the committee also nominated Steven Tekulsky for town justice, although Joe Giannini did receive an unsuccessful nomination from the floor of the convention Wednesday night.

The committee also voted to support Republican highway superintendent Stephen Lynch who is seeking a second term. It also endorsed Carole Brennan, the assistant town clerk, to run for town clerk, replacing Fred Overton who will retire and seek a town council seat on the Republican and Independence party tickets.

Brennan and Lynch now officially have the support of the Democratic, Independence and Republican parties.

Incumbent trustees Deborah Klughers and Steven Lester were both nominated to run for town trustee. The party has also endorsed Ira Barocas, Brian Byrnes Afton DiSunno, Edwin Gues, Samuel Kramer, Kate Rogers, Loretta Sears and Bill Taylor.

Meanwhile the Republican Committee has yet to announce the supervisor candidate who will run alongside Overton and incumbent councilman Dominick Stanzione this fall.

Overton and Stanzione both have the support of the Independence Party, which also backed Cantwell for supervisor.

On Tuesday, party chairman Kurt Kappel said the party hoped to conduct more screenings for that position next week, but was unsure of the outcome.

He did not reveal any potential candidates and admitted the search has been exhaustive and challenging.

“We have a lot of people interested in screening who are qualified, but this is a full time job, six-seven days a week and that is hard for people who are qualified but already work a lot of hours in the week,” he said.

The party originally endorsed Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who ultimately turned down the nod to seek his last term on the county legislature.

When asked if an endorsement of Cantwell was possible, Kappel said, “I don’t know. We will probably discuss it at our next meeting.”