With Election Day in the rear view mirror and new faces joining the Southampton Town Board, the Independence Party saw many of its own headed to, or remaining in public office. The political tone of the usually GOP-dominated town may finally be changing.
Incumbent Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member, was re-elected over her opponent Linda Kabot last week. Brad Bender, another Independent, earned 5746 votes as of Monday, giving him one of two seats on the town board.
Should the numbers hold, the five-member town board would include two Independence Party members (both of whom have Democratic leanings), two Republicans (Stan Glinka and current Councilwoman Christine Scalera), and Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a Democrat. If the numbers hold, for the first time since the early 90s, the town council in Southampton won't have a GOP majority.
Legislator Jay Schneiderman, a longtime Independence Party member, said Glinka was "independent-minded" and expects him to work well with Throne-Holst.
When asked about the Independence Party's successes with this year's election, he added, "I think the message is resonating. People are tired of partisan politics. People are looking for elected officials to represent them."
Schneiderman also noted how "there's something going on out here for the 'I' [Independence Party]. Here on the East End, we're electing people who are registered Independents in large numbers."
Schneiderman added part of the appeal for the Independence Party is the party may be more progressive socially, but at the same time is fiscally conservative.
Last week's election had Schneiderman keep his seat on the horseshoe.
Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) said he was happy with the results from last week.
"It's typically so competitive in Southampton," he said. "This board has a lot of potential."
Thiele noted the reason why people vote Independent is because "the people know the candidate will work above partisan politics."
Thiele held a working majority in 1993 and 1994 as Southampton Town Supervisor.
"My advice [to Throne-Holst] is to reach out to all four other councilpeople," he said, "and to have the board work above parties."
Schneiderman expects the town board to be very bipartisan.
"Government should be accessible to everyone," he said. "I hope they take advantage of that."
Alex Gregor kept his position as Highway Superintendent, besting Dave Betts last week. Gregor, is, you guessed it, an Independence Party member.