June 20, 2007
In Southampton: Kabot Challenges Heaney
Southampton Town Councilwoman Linda Kabot announced on Sunday night that she will wage a primary in a bid to unseat incumbent Supervisor Skip Heaney in the upcoming November election.
Kabot threw her hat into the ring only days after Councilwoman Nancy Graboski's announced that she'd be waging a primary for one of the two available town board seats.
Kabot said many residents had urged her toward the decision.
"I cannot support the incumbent Town Supervisor in his re-election effort," she said. "When something is wrong, one must have enough courage to speak up, even if there are political consequences. It is time to rid the arrogance and political gamesmanship from the corridors of Town Hall. I am in this race out of necessity."
Kabot's term as a town council member does not expire until December 31, 2009.
Of Heaney, Kabot said, "There is a strain and a tension between us and it's grown to the great divide."
Kabot promised voters an "issue-oriented campaign," and said she has elected to run for three main reasons, starting with protecting the public trust.
Ensuring "an honest budget," is another reason. Kabot said the goal is full disclosure. She believes the budget amendments she proposed in the past led to "considerable tension" that came to a head this past November.
Heaney responded that Kabot had voted yes to every budget.
Lastly, Kabot said she wishes to be responsive to community needs and continue her work on issues such as affordable housing.
The councilwoman shed light on rumors that she transferred funds between her election race for town board account into a fund for an upcoming supervisor's race. According to speculation, she made the transfer at the end of last year, but never asked the donors, a violation of election law.
Kabot explained that she had one campaign account, Friends of Linda Kabot, from the 2005 town board race. She received two checks from donors who had exceeded the maximum allowed for the race. If she hadn't exceeded term limits and was allowed to run for a council seat again, she would have deposited the funds into the Friends of Linda Kabot account 2005 and amended the form to 2009. But because she was unable to do that, she put the checks in a separate account for the 2009 supervisor's seat, an exploratory account. "It's not like people don't have exploratory accounts. Hillary Clinton's exploring for president, is she not?"
Because the donations were reflected on the Internet without the years for which Kabot intended them, the checks were called into question. Kabot said her supporters wrote the checks so that she could utilize them in any race.
In the end, Kabot voluntarily returned the contributions.
"If somebody's out there saying I did something improperly, I did not. Everything was in accordance with election law."
After Kabot's announcement, Heaney said, "I am not going to offer a personal comment about the councilwoman or her personality. I think the nature of her personality is rather clear for others to see."
Heaney reminded that he has been in a primary for supervisor twice in the past.
"I suspect that my performance hasn't changed, that the outcome is likely to be similar. That's not about arrogance, simply about having faith in the Republican voter's ability to ascertain my performance over her rhetoric."
Heaney reminded he got a standing ovation and received unanimous support for designation. In addition, he has received support from the Working Family Party, the Conservative Party, and the Independence Party. "I don't know what it is that one malcontented councilwoman sees that the membership of four political parties deem not to see, in her mind."
Heaney also believes that "Councilwoman Graboski's effort has now been compromised by Councilwoman Kabot's very arrogant assault on the town supervisor. Linda Kabot is like the arsonist who comes back to put out the fire."
Kabot is a registered Republican but has received cross-endorsements from the Conservative, Independence, and Working Families parties in the prior election. Kabot and Graboski also plan to screen for possible endorsement on the Integrity Party line.
Both Kabot and Graboski must receive over 500 valid signatures of rank and file Republican voters before the primary on September 18, when voters will make their choice. The general election will be held on November 6.
Currently, Kabot's focus is on moving forward in the public interest. "I will not engage in dirty politics."