The East Hampton Democratic Committee held its first screening of the 2013 political season on Sunday, and while they are far from ready to start talking about who might be on the ballot, cross endorsements are on the table.
Betty Mazur, the screening committee's chairwoman, said they are always "slow and deliberate," screening anyone who has interest, no matter their party affiliation. But, whether the committee will actually cross endorse candidates — particularly when it comes to the town supervisor position — remains to be seen.
Suffolk County Legis. Jay Schneiderman, an Independence party member from Montauk who looks to be getting the East Hampton Republican nomination for town supervisor, will screen with the Democrats a week from Sunday. Dominick Stanzione, a Republican town councilman, has also asked to screen with the Democrats as he looks towards reelection, Mazur said.
Deputy Clerk Carole Brennan, who hopes to replace Fred Overton as town clerk and also recently sought the Republican nomination. Overton is not seeking re-election as town clerk, but screened with the Republicans for town board.
"We've just begun our process, we're in no big galloping race," Mazur said. "The race begins after our candidates are formally announced and that won't be until May. There is plenty of time."
Mazur also confirmed that Larry Cantwell, the East Hampton Village administrator who is retiring at the end of July, is also scheduled to screen for town supervisor.
As for other interested parties, Mazur said she's not talking. "Our policy is to be very closed mouth," she said. "It's more fair to all the people are being looked at and interviewed."
She said she expects to hear from more interested candidates in the coming month. "We don't have a cut off date for people to call," she said, adding the committee will meet on most Sundays, except for holidays and St. Patrick's Day, through April.
Mazur, who has been on the screening committee for so many years that she has lost track, said Democrats are feeling good going into the 2013 election season. "We're feeling optimistic. We have a good number of interesting candidates and we feel they're strong," she said. "We think that this is an important year. The town has had an opportunity to assess the current majority and I think the assessment has been fairly negative, to put it nicely."
She added that Town Councilwoman Syvlia Overby and Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, who are just beginning their second year, are representing the Democratic party well on the town board and have "showed the difference between Democats and Republicans locally."
The nominating process has also highlighted marked differences with the two parties, she said, referring to the Republicans announcement that they voted to nominate Schneiderman before he was ready to accept the nomination and before Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson had announced his decision to run. "The Republicans have shown us how not to do it," she said.
Correction: Fred Overton did not, and does not plan to, screen with the Democrats for a seat on the town board, as was previously stated. East Hampton Patch regrets the error.