By Rick Murphy
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Former Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot is holding her cards close to the vest – for now.
Last week, Republican Party leader William Wright told The Independent that the GOP hasn't begun the process of choosing its candidates for the upcoming elections.
Two incumbent board members, Jim Malone and Chris Nuzzi, haven't announced their intentions yet. Two years ago, Kabot ran for town supervisor as a write-in candidate after Nuzzi declined an invitation to run, and she did surprisingly well, garnering over 3200 votes.
"I am not yet sure about another run for public office this coming year but to be honest, I have been considering it," Kabot said last week. "Certainly, many people have asked me to do so, often assuming I would be already in the running because of my prior write-in campaign in 2011."
It is no secret that the fire still burns – and there is the rivalry between Kabot and current Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. The two clashed frequently, beginning when Throne-Holst was on the town board and Kabot sat in the supe's seat. And though Throne-Holst bested her in the 2009 race, Kabot's candidacy was hurt by a bogus DWI charge leveled by Westhampton Beach Police a month before the election. Kabot was subsequently acquitted. In 2011 she filed a notice of claim announcing her intentions to sue the police force.
Throne-Holst told The Independent last week that she is running, and would be open to a cross-endorsement from the GOP. Wright said, however, that his first preference was to have a Republican challenger.
"The Republican line-up this year really hinges on what Councilman Chris Nuzzi decides to do in terms of another run for public office since he is faced with term limits for his current seat on the town board," Kabot said.
Some local politicians have speculated that Nuzzi may make a run for the County Legislature, presumably Jay Schneiderman's soon to be vacated seat. Bridget Fleming, a Democrat on the Southampton Town Board, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for a seat on the horseshoe.
"I was asked to consider it but I have obligations to the Town of Southampton and to my family," Fleming said. "I don't know what Jay's plans are," she added.
Cornelius Kelley, who ran against Schneiderman in 2011 and lost, was one name being bandied about by insiders. One source said Kelley might be interested in a run for town board. Jeff Mansfield, a critic of the proposed Bridgehampton/Sagaponack beach replenishment project, is another name being circulated.
Nuzzi did not return phone calls. Jim Malone, another Republican incumbent facing reelection, has not indicated what his plans are, Wright said. One source said he has his eye on a judgeship.
Kabot said she's been lying low, recovering from a cough. But she remains a popular figure and a proven vote getter—she toppled incumbent supervisor Pat Heaney, himself a proven vote getter, in a primary in 2007 and took his seat at town hall. "I am heartened by the expressions of support and kind words of encouragement," Kabot said.