By Rick Murphy
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said this week she is running for reelection – the question is whether anyone will step up to challenge her.
The two-time incumbent is a lock to receive the Independence and Democratic Party endorsements.
But the GOP, which for decades controlled the town, couldn't even muster up a suitable opponent against Throne-Holst two years ago. Former Town Supervisor Linda Kabot stepped up to run as a write-in candidate after Councilman Chris Nuzzi declined the nomination from the GOP Convention floor.
Throne-Holst said she might reach out to the Republicans with an eye on a cross-endorsement. "If you look at my agenda it straddles all the parties' goals, especially keeping the line on taxes." A cross-endorsement from the GOP would "show the public we are moving above partisan bickering."
William Wright, the chairman of the Town Republican Committee, did not rule anything out, although he stressed it was early in the process.
"Everything is on the table as of now. Our main goal is to work together," Wright said. "At the same time, we'd love to put up a [Republican] candidate," Wright said. "We've had some interest but we're just getting over the holidays. I expect a lot more names."
The town is still reeling from a scandal involving the Town Police Street Crimes Unit, which is being investigated by the Suffolk County District Attorney. In addition, the town board took a hit when its hand picked choice for Police Chief, Bill Wilson, abruptly resigned after less than a year on the job.
The board purposely chose Wilson, the former Southampton Village Police Chief, instead of an in-house candidate, but he clashed with the board on a number of fronts and it became apparent his appointment was a mistake. The board has since tapped Robert Pearce, a captain with the town police, to take over the helm.
"So much bad stuff happened," Throne-Host said. "We can argue about it until we die or we can rise above party politics and move ahead with the chief we have in place."
Both Republican town board members are up for reelection, Nuzzi and Jim Malone. Wright said he "hasn't gotten a sense one way or the other" whether Nuzzi wanted to run; he hasn't spoken to Malone.
Nuzzi did not return a phone call for comment.
Kabot is the wildcard in the supervisor's race. Though Throne-Holst has beaten her in the last two elections, both were tainted victories. In 2009 Westhampton Beach Village Police arrested Kabot on a bogus driving while intoxicated charge just a month before the election. She was acquitted of the charge after the election.
In 2011 Kabot lost but received over 3200 votes, a shocking amount of write-ins. "I haven't heard from Linda," Wright said, "but that doesn't mean I don't think she is interested. I don't know."
Kabot did not return an email asking for a comment.
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