Kabot To Challenge Fleming for Legislature; No Opponent Yet for Schneiderman

Linda Kabot

Former Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, a Republican who lost her first reelection bid as supervisor to Democrat Anna Throne-Holst in 2009 and then failed to oust her in 2011 and 2013, is re-entering the political arena as the GOP candidate for county legislator in the second district.

The veteran political scrapper will challenge incumbent Democrat Bridget Fleming of Noyac, who is seeking a third two-year term.

Meanwhile, as town races came into focus last week, no candidate emerged to challenge Democrat Jay Schneiderman in his bid for a third term as Southampton Town supervisor, after his expected challenger, Councilwoman Christine Scalera, decided not to run.

The Suffolk County Republican Committee nominated Ms. Kabot at its convention in Farmingville on Monday night, February 25, following her endorsement by both the Southampton Town and East Hampton Town Republican committees. She is a Quogue resident and a realtor with Town & Country Real Estate in Southampton.

Bridget Fleming

“I am honored to have the Republican nomination to run for Suffolk County Legislator,” Ms. Kabot said in a statement on Tuesday. “I appreciate the opportunity to step back into the political arena and offer the voters a choice for a more effective voice for the people …”

“I have strength of character, 14 years of experience at the executive and legislative level of local government, and an ardent desire to return to public service,” she said.“I look forward to a vigorous campaign.”

Mr. Kabot, a former wedding photographer, started her political career in the 1990s as executive assistant to Republican Southampton Town Supervisor Vincent Cannuscio of Hampton Bays. She was elected to the Southampton Town Board in 2001 and again in 2005.

In 2007, in the middle of her council term, she challenged Republican Supervisor Skip Heaney in a primary and won, going on to narrowly beat Democrat Jim Henry in the general election.

Ms. Fleming, a former assistant Manhattan district attorney, is a lawyer focusing on matrimonial and family law and professional mediation. She was elected to the Southampton Town Board in 2010 to fill an unexpired term and to a full four-year term in 2011. In 2015, she won her seat on the legislature and was reelected in 2017.

The second legislative district covers the towns of Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island and a few small parts on Brookhaven Town.

“I have enormous respect for the Democratic system,” Ms. Fleming commented on Tuesday, “and I’m looking forward to running a strong campaign. I think the process is really healthy for good government and I want to make sure voters know of the successes my team has been able to achieve.”

She said her constituents’ county tax rate has remained level or declined during her years in office and that she and her team have steered “many millions” in infrastructure funding to the district for clean water, reversing brown tide, revitalization efforts and supporting vibrant downtowns.

She listed renewable energy, public transportation, health issues and “landmark advances in research to combat tick-borne disease” as areas where she has achieved results. “I’m really very proud of the amount of success my team has been able to deliver,” Ms. Fleming said.

Southampton GOP Supervisor Search

Meanwhile, the Republican and Democratic committees in both East Hampton and Southampton Towns met last week to nominate their candidates for most town contests.

But the Southampton Town GOP ended its meeting with no candidate for supervisor. This week the committee continued “to have conversations” — as committee vice chair Theresa Kiernan put it on Monday —with prospective candidates to challenge Democratic nominee Jay Schneiderman, who is seeking his third two-year term. GOP Chairman David Betts could not be reached for comment.

Republicans had been expected to tap Councilwoman Scalera, the only Republican on the Southampton Town Board, to run for supervisor. Facing the term-limited end of her eight years as a councilperson, she announced a few weeks ago she was considering a run against Mr. Schneiderman.

But just last week, shortly before the Republicans held their nominating convention on Wednesday, February 20, she announced she would not be a candidate.

She commented in a text message on Tuesday, “While I love what I do, the demands of a campaign and the physical and mental commitment required to do the very best I can (and I wouldn’t know how to do less) make running for supervisor right now not in the best interest of my family and that has to come first. I am grateful for the support many people have given through the years. I hope that while some are disappointed with my decision not to run that overall they have been proud of the way I have represented them in Town Hall and know that I poured my heart into my work.”

Ms. Kabot said Monday that the GOP committee had asked her to consider running for supervisor but she declined, in part because of her concern it could lead to conflicts with her work as a consultant to real estate clients on land-use and permitting issues.

To run for the Southampton Town Board seats currently held by Ms. Scalera and Democrat John Bouvier of Westhampton, who is seeking a second four-year term, the GOP committee nominated two newcomers to town-level electoral politics: Jim Ding of North Sea, a former candidate for the Sag Harbor School Board and a member of the Noyac CAC when he lived in Noyac; and Rick Martel of Hampton Bays.

In addition to Mr. Bouvier, the Democratic Committee tapped Craig Catalanotto of Speonk, the co-chair the town’s Citizens Advisory Committee-West, to run for Town Board.

Top East Hampton Contests

In East Hampton, a breakaway group called the Reform Democrats met on Tuesday, February 27, with many observers expecting it to name its own candidates to challenge the nominees of the town’s Democratic Committee, who were named at its convention on February 13. The Reform group’s leader, Rona Klopman, declined on Wednesday to say what was decided on Tuesday and promised to issue a press release by the end of the week.

As for the Democratic Committee, there were no surprises. “Almost 80 percent of the 36 committee members” cast ballots at the convention, according to the committee’s website, nominating three Town Board incumbents to seek reelection: Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, a former councilman who will be seeking his second two-year term; Councilman David Lys, seeking his first full four-year term; and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, seeking her third four-year term.

The East Hampton Republican Committee on February 23 named Richard Myers, past chairman of the Wainscott CAC and a 10-year member of the Board of Architectural Review, to challenge Mr. Van Scoyoc in the supervisor race.

For the two council seats at stake on the Town Board, it named Bonnie Brady, the government affairs liaison for the Long Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association, and Betsy Bambrick, the town’s recently retired code enforcement chief, to run against Mr. Lys and Ms. Overby.

Other Races

For Town Trustee, the East Hampton Republicans nominated Susan Vorpahl, Rick Drew, Stephen Lester, Dell Cullum, incumbent Jim Grimes, Fallon Bloecker Nigro, Mike Havens, Dave Talmage and Rona Klopman, who leads the Reform Democrats.

Town Justice Lisa Rana is the GOP candidate for reelection. Incumbent Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch, a Democrat, was cross-endorsed for reelection. Town assessors Jill Massa and Jeannie Nielson were also endorsed by both the Republican and Democratic Committees

The East Hampton Democratic Committee tapped five incumbent Town Trustees to seek reelection line: John Aldred, clerk Francis Bock, Rick Drew, Susan McGraw-Keber and deputy clerk Bill Taylor. It also crossed party lines to back incumbent Jim Grimes, a Republican who also serves as deputy clerk.

For the remaining three seats on the nine-member board, the Democrats s Zach Cohen, a past candidate for town supervisor and Town Board; Tim Garneau and Mike Martinsen.

To challenge Ms. Rana for town justice, the committee endorsed Andrew Strong, general counsel for the nonprofit OrganizaciónLatino-Americana of Eastern Long Island.

In Southampton Town, Republican Committee vice chair Theresa Kiernan — who will be seeking reelection as town tax receiver — confirmed that the committee had nominated three incumbent Town Trustees to seek reelection: Ed Warner Jr., Scott Horowitz and Bruce Stafford. For the board’s remaining two seats, it nominated Don Law, who also ran for Trustee in 2015 and 2017, and Thea Dombrowski-Fry, who ran for Town Board in 2017.

The Republicans chose incumbent Gary Weber to seek reelection as town justice.

The Southampton Democratic Committee endorsed for Town Trustee incumbents Bill Pell and Ann Welker and challengers Andrew Brosnan, Eileen Duffy and David Mayert.

The Democrats endorsed Brette Haefeli for Town Justice and Gordon Herr for receiver of taxes.