East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc announced on Tuesday night that he will seek re-election to a third term in the town’s executive suite.
And on Wednesday morning, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez followed suit, announcing that she will seek a third term on the board as well.
“This has been an incredibly difficult period of time for so many, but for me, this is not the time to give up,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said on Wednesday morning. “I feel compelled to continue in my service to our community as town supervisor; to help overcome our current challenges and lead us through our post pandemic recovery.”
Mr. Van Scoyoc was first elected to the Town Board in 2012 and served six years as a councilman before succeeding Larry Cantwell as supervisor at the start of 2018. He won re-election in 2019 with more than 71 percent of the vote, defeating another Democrat, David Gruber, who was running on the Independence Party line.
He will be joined on the Democratic ticket by Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, who was the top vote-getter in both of her first two elections. She is a former president of the Springs School Board
“I am fiercely committed to addressing the pressing needs of our children, our seniors, and our hard-working families,” she said on Wednesday.
Who the third Democrat on the Town Board slate will be remains to be seen. Councilman Jeff Bragman, whose first term is up this year, has yet to make a formal announcement about whether he will seek a second term.
Mr. Bragman has frequently butted heads with the other four members of the board, and especially Mr. Van Scoyoc, over a wide variety of issues — starting with his objection during his first month on the board to the appointment of Councilman David Lys, right up to his lone vote this past week against signing an easement agreement for the South Fork Wind Farm. His opposition stance on a board that has otherwise largely worked in lock-step has won him fans in Wainscott and other arenas, but political watchers have questioned whether he would seek reelection, or would earn a second endorsement from the town’s Democratic Party committee.
Council terms are four years, while supervisor terms are just two, ensuring that majority control of the board is up for grabs in each election cycle. All five of the current Town Board members are Democrats and the party has dominated local elections through the last four election cycles on the back of a more than two-to-one advantage in voter registrations in the town. Democrats currently hold all but three of the town’s 21 elected offices.
Also concluding terms this year are Town Clerk Carole Brennan and Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch, Justice Steven Tekulsky and Tax Receiver Eugene di Pasquale, as well as all nine East Hampton Town Trustees. All of the incumbents save for one, Trustee James Grimes, are Democrats — and Mr. Grimes was cross-endorsed by the Democrats in the 2019 elections.
The Democrats began their screening process this week, but party leaders have been mum about who else has asked to be considered for endorsements in the various races. Republican Party Chairman Manny Vilar likewise said that his party would start its screenings this week and that there have been “robust inquiries” but would not say who has expressed interest in running.
The Republicans failed to field a full ticket in the 2019 election — including having no candidates for the supervisor or council seats — after the party’s county leaders didn’t sign off on a mixed slate of Republicans and rogue Democrats who had banded to gather in a “Fusion Party” slate seeking to unseat the Democratic Party committee’s hegemony in Town Hall.
The mixed slate did mostly find a home on the Independence Party line, but that will not be possible this year because the party failed to earn enough votes statewide in the 2020 election to qualify for a ballot line this year — a victim of a new state law that upped the threshold for qualifying from 50,000 votes to 130,000. The Independence, Green and Libertarian parties all failed to meet the threshold and will have collect tens of thousands of signatures on petitions to earn the right to endorse candidates on a ticket this year.