Three South Fork pols eying all new levels of office

Bridget Fleming, Jay Schneiderman, and Anna Throne-Holst.
Bridget Fleming, Jay Schneiderman, and Anna Throne-Holst.

A game of political musical chairs is taking place in Southampton Town.

Where the public servants will end up, nobody knows — however where they’re trying to end up is becoming evident.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming (D-Noyack) will be running for outgoing Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman’s seat this fall, while Mr. Schneiderman (I-Montauk) is expected to run for the seat that currently belongs to Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst (I-Sag Harbor). Ms. Throne-Holst, meanwhile, is apparently challenging Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) next fall instead of running for re-election.

Ms. Fleming was nominated Wednesday night by the Suffolk County Democrats. Mr. Schneiderman is expected to announce his intent to run for Southampton Town supervisor tomorrow, sources close to the legislator said. Ms. Throne-Holst’s plans were first reported by Newsday.

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Mr. Schneiderman, whose term expires at the end of this year due to term limits, said he is formally waiting until tomorrow, Friday, to make an announcement. He had been considering the idea of running for town board either in East Hampton, where he previously served as supervisor, or in Southampton, where he also owns property and his two children attend school.

“A lot of people had been saying, ‘Is a town board seat big enough? That’s kind of going downhill,'” he recalled Thursday of his reaction from people when they learned of his idea of running for a town board seat. “It’s still the same vote as a supervisor. It’s an important seat.”

Part of what got him considering the Southampton supervisor seat, he said, was the decision by Ms. Throne-Holst to challenge Mr. Zeldin after his first two-year term next fall. Mr. Zeldin defeated six-term Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) last November.

Ms. Fleming was first elected to the Town Board in 2010 in a special election and made a bid for state Senate in 2012 against longtime state Senator Ken LaValle. She was the top vote-getter in a four-way race for two Town Board seats in 2011, and against Mr. LaValle a year later, pulled in 40 percent of the vote.

“There’s still work to be done for our local community,” Ms. Fleming said in a statement. “But the platform of county government will enable me to accomplish more over a wider horizon.  So many of our challenges, like water quality, transportation and energy issues, and an economy that meets the needs of the local community, require regional approaches and coordination among multiple towns.”

Mr. Schneiderman said Ms. Fleming had actually received more votes than Mr. LaValle on the South Fork during the 2012 race, so history could be on her side.

“That tells me she is a very strong candidate,” he said.

The current Southampton supervisor, Ms. Throne-Holst, told Newsday that she won’t seek re-election this fall so she could instead “launch full throttle” for the congressional seat currently held by Mr. Zeldin. Ms. Throne-Holst did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ms. Fleming will face Republican candidate Amos Goodman in the race for the county’s Second Legislative District seat.

Meanwhile, the race to challenge Mr. Zeldin is already filling up with other candidates. David Calone, the chairman of the Long Island Planning Commission, has already announced his intentions to seek the Democratic nod.

Southampton Republicans and Democrats are both expected to have their nominating conventions next week, when the slates for Town Board and supervisor will be named.

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