Freshman town board member eyed for run at the top spot

Bragman Coup Would Be An East Hampton First

Republican candidates gathered with committee chairman Manny Vilar (front, left) at a meet and greet on Saturday, February 23, at the American Legion in Amagansett. Independent/Justin Meinken

East Hampton Town Councilman Jeff Bragman, who isn’t even a declared candidate, could easily find himself in a race for the town supervisor position. In fact, he could be an overwhelming favorite if he decides to pull the trigger.

And he could find his name across the ballot in unprecedented ways.

It was no surprise Bragman’s name was not mentioned when the East Hampton Town Republican Committee announced its official slate of candidates on Monday, February 25. After all, Bragman was just elected in November on the Democratic Party line.

The GOP did choose “a bipartisan slate of candidates that brings tremendous expertise,” according to Chairman Manny Vilar. The focus was on bringing “different political views” into the system and “not the same old, same old,” he said.

The Republicans have nominated Richard Meyers — an inventor and retired corporate CEO who is a 10-year member and current chairman of the town Architectural Review Board — for supervisor. But it should be noted that Meyers, a Republican, could be challenged in a primary, which Bragman, said to be a friend and an ally of his, would not do, sources said.

However, Meyers could step down or be removed from the top spot, leaving it there for Bragman. Sources said the local GOP, tired of losing elections hereabouts, sees the popular councilman as a winner.

For town board, the Republicans selected Bonnie Brady, a Democrat and a long-time government affairs representative for the commercial fishing industry and Betsy Bambrick, an Independence Party member and a retired East Hampton Town administrator. Brady, like Bragman, has emerged as one of the most vociferous anti-Deepwater Wind critics in town.

The Independence Party was scheduled to announce its slate on Tuesday, February 26, after this paper went to press. Sources said the Independence membership is overwhelmingly against the Deepwater off-shore wind project and will endorse Bragman right out of the gate if he doesn’t object. Otherwise, there could be a primary in June that would offer another opportunity.

The Democrats have already nominated three incumbent board members: Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, and Councilman David Lys. A renegade group called the Reform Democrats has other ideas, and Bragman almost certainly will get their nod for the top spot if he wants it.

Incumbent Justice Rana will seek reelection on the GOP line. For trustees, the Republicans have also nominated incumbents Susan Vorpahl (R), Rick Drew (D), Jimmy Grimes (R), and Dell Cullum (D), as well as former members David Talmage (R) and Stephan Lester (D), and new candidates Fallon Blocker Nigro (R), Mike Havens (R), and Rona Klopman (D).

The Republicans have endorsed Republican Stephen Lynch for highway superintendent and the Republican Jill Massa and the Democrat Jeanie Nielson for assessors.