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Nov 5, 2019 10:47 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Democrats Poised To Sweep East Hampton Town Election; Justice Race Still In The Balance

David Lys, Carl Irace and Jeffrey Bragman wait at Rowdy Hall in East Hampton for election results to come in on Tuesday night.  MICHAEL HELLER
Nov 6, 2019 9:07 AM


UPDATE: 11:30 p.m.



With all districts reporting, Incumbent Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc handily defeated challenger David Gruber, by a final tally of 3,832-1,561.

In the town justice race, Lisa Rana had a final tally of 3,012 votes to Andrew Strong’s 2,896 votes.

In the council race, David Lys had 3,819 votes, Sylvia Overby had 3,367 votes, Bonnie Brady had 2,048 votes and Elizabeth Bambrick had 1,701 votes.

In the assessor race, Jill Massa had 5,238 votes and Jeanne Nielsen had 5,045 votes.

The final tally in the trustee race was: Francis Bock, 3,583; Susan Vorpahl, 2,522; Bill Taylor, 3,224; David Talmage, 2,537; Susan McGraw-Keber, 3,211; Michael Havens, 2,211; Richard Drew, 4,492; Benjamin Dollinger, 3,030; Fallon Nigro, 2,049; Tim Garneau, 3,042; Dell Cullum, 1,955; John Aldred, 3,072; Stephen Lester, 2,189; Mike Martinsen, 3,127; Rona Klopman, 1,472; and James Grimes, 4,906.

Original Story:



East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and his Democratic running mates for Town Board, Sylvia Overby and David Lys, cruised to easy reelection victories on Tuesday night as the Democratic Party once again asserted its electoral dominance in East Hampton Town.

Driving home the point, political newcomer Andrew Strong, running on the Democratic line for town justice, was leading veteran Justice Lisa Rana, a Republican, in the ballot count for the evening’s tightest race with more than half the districts reporting. The final result of that race appears to hang in the balance of a count of absentee ballots before it can be called.

The Democrats also dominated the race for East Hampton Town Trustees, appearing to have won all nine seats up for grabs. With most election districts reporting on Tuesday night it appeared as though the only Republican to win a seat on the board would be incumbent Trustee James Grimes, who was cross-endorsed by the Democrats.

In the first year of early voting in New York State, overall turnout for the election was robust despite inclement weather for most of Tuesday.

With absentee ballots still to be counted before results will be official, Mr. Van Scoyoc holds a commanding lead over his challenger, David Gruber, the former chairman of the East Hampton Democratic Party who was running on the Independence Party line.

“This means so much to me and my fellow candidates to have so much support from all of you and from the community,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said at the Democratic Party gathering at Rowdy Hall on Tuesday night. “It’s affirmation and validation of the efforts we’ve made together. We’re not done ­— we’re just getting started. It’s round two.”

Ms. Overby and Mr. Lys likewise posted comfortable vote margins over their Independence Party challengers, Bonnie Brady and Betsy Bambrick, after votes were counted on Tuesday night.

It will be Ms. Overby’s third term on the board.

Mr. Lys will start his first full four-year term on the Town Board in January, after being appointed to the Town Board in 2018 and winning a special election for a one-year term last fall.

The Democratic Party has now all but swept every town election since recapturing the Town Board majority in 2014 and either knocked off or siphoned away the town Republicans’ most popular candidates.

Highway Superintendent Steve Lynch, who was uncontested in the last two election cycles, was elected in 2011 as a Republican but quietly switched his political registration to Democrat before his last reelection bid.

Other than the typically uncontested tax assessors posts, two of which are held by Democrats and one by a Republican, Ms. Rana is the GOP’s last long-serving official.

The Democrats have a more than 2-to-1 advantage in voter registration in the town and are opposed only by a flagging Republican Party that has struggled to muster candidates with experience in town government and has seen nearly all of those appointed by the last Republican majority pushed out of their posts by the Democratic hegemony.

Mr. Van Scoyoc, Ms. Overby and Mr. Lys all came to town politics through positions on the town’s regulatory boards, whereas the Republicans have not posted a candidate with any previous experience in town government outside of the Trustees offices, since 2014.

Mr. Gruber is a former Democratic Party strategist who helped the party craft its political campaigns and was one of its biggest donors, for two decades, before falling out with the party leadership in recent years. This was his third run for elected office.

He has mustered a splinter group of disaffected Democrats to join him in mounting a challenge to the party leadership’s choices the last two years, but has been rebuffed at the polls in each instance.

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