The East Hampton Republican Party Committee has elected Manny Vilar as chairman to replace Amos Goodman, who stepped down shortly before being hit with 20 felony charges involving
alleged primary petition fraud.
Vilar, who recently lost his bid for David Lys’s seat on the East Hampton Town Board, was voted to the post unanimously on December 6. While Republicans are vastly outnumbered by Democrats in East Hampton, Vilar sees a hopeful future for the community.
He said Monday that he wants the party in East Hampton to be a big tent, encouraging diversity. “Are you going to agree on everything? Of course not,” he said. “Come on in.”
He also sees the possibility of working across the aisle with Reform Democrats who feel disaffected from their own party and believes, when warranted in cross-endorsements. He compared the Democratic Party in East Hampton today to the Tammany Hall political machine of the early 20th Century in New York City. The local Democratic Party, he said, has become too much of a “my way or the highway” organization, too worried about the national picture, while
losing sight of East Hampton.
Vilar, the founding president of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State, faces a daunting task: In East Hampton registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a more than two-to-one margin. In November’s election, Lys outpolled Vilar by by an even larger margin.