Strong bests Rana in East Hampton Democratic town justice primary

It’s Gregor Over Jay For Independence Line




Alex Gregor has graduated from poke in the eye to full-time nemesis.

The Southampton Town highway superintendent has never been shy about criticizing Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s job performance. His public criticism, and frequent barbs, have thus far been taken with a grain of salt, even when Gregor proclaimed he could do a better job as supervisor if elected.

Now, he just might get the chance.

On Tuesday, June 25, Gregor backed up his bluster with something else he does quite well: garner votes. He stunned Schneiderman in the Independence Party primary by opening a marginal lead, pending the results of absentee ballots, and if it holds, he will get a chance to win the supervisor’s seat come Election Day. Gregor held a 85-78 edge with all districts reporting, but there remained a handful of absentee ballots expected to come in.

Gregor could opt to keep his Highway Department job — he’s in his third term — or switch jobs should he win.

He’ll face Schneiderman on the Democratic, Conservative, and Working Families lines, and Greg Robins, the Republican candidate, on Election Day.

In East Hampton, the big winner was Andrew Strong, a neophyte who was the surprise choice of the Democratic Committee for town justice. Strong serves as the attorney of the Organización Latino-Americana of Eastern Long Island.

Lisa Rana, the popular incumbent who was endorsed by the Democrats in the last election despite the fact she is a registered Republican, entered the Democratic primary with the intention of knocking Strong out of the race.

Instead, Strong took home a blistering 71.45 percent of the votes, 986 in all. The pair will square off in the general election with Rana running on the Republican, Conservative, and Independence lines.

The staid and traditional old guard of the Democratic Party was the other major winner in East Hampton on primary night. The old line nominated nine candidates for the nine town Trustees seats, including six incumbents, and the nine were the top vote getters, easily repulsing a bid by an upstart faction within the party. One mild surprise was Jim Grimes, a Republican incumbent who renounced his party line but was chosen by the Democrats this year.

The top vote getters were: Susan F. McGraw-Keber (1078), Grimes (1042), Bill Taylor (1029), Francis Bock (1025), Tim Garneau (1012), Richard Drew (968), John Aldred (912), and Ben Dollinger (844).

The incumbent Del Cullum (641), Stephen Lester, a former Trustee (603), and Rona Klopman (429), failed to take a slot on the Democratic ticket but will run on the Independence Party line come November. They have petitioned the courts to allow their Fusion Party line to appear on the ballots as well.

The incumbent Trustees are McGraw-Keber, Taylor, Aldred, Drew, Bock, and Grimes.

In Southampton Fred Havemeyer, a long-time respected Southampton Town Trustee, won a slot on the Democratic ticket after stepping down two years ago. Voters denied former Trustee Eric Shultz a spot on the ballot.

Havemeyer will join Bill Pell, Ann Welker, Andrew Brosnan, and David Mayer on the Democratic ticket in November.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com