Ya never know, pundits say

Presidential Race Takes On Local Flavor




Think traffic is bad now? Imagine if the president of the United States starts spending quality time hereabouts.

Two serious candidates with strong local roots here have already announced their interest in the country’s top job: Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, spends a lot of time in his East Hampton Village house and has for years. He said last week he is strongly considering
running for president as an independent.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg owns Ballyshear, a Georgian mansion sitting on 32 acres on White’s Lane in Southampton, only a stone’s throw from his beloved Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. He said he might use his own money to challenge Donald Trump (or whoever the candidate is) when the times comes.

In fact, New York dominates the bold types interested in the top spot.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat who won reelection to another six-year term in 2018, said she would test the presidential waters in 2020. If elected, that would open up the Senate seat long coveted by
Republicans.

“I can’t see myself in Congress four years from now,” Lee Zeldin told The Independent during his last campaign. “I think congressmen should move on to something else.” Zeldin, a GOP darling, is considered a rising star in the party. He’s already proven to be a vote getter, having served in the State Assembly and Senate. Should a Senate seat open up in the great state of New York . . .

Many pundits say Governor Andrew Cuomo would become the immediate favorite to capture the Democratic Party nomination, should he opt into the presidential race. Cynthia Nixon and Marcus Molinaro, both of whom ran for governor last time out, would likely go for it again.

Two more household names from the Empire State who might have a passing interest: former U.S. Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton, and Brooklyn’s own Bernie Sanders. Sound familiar?

President Jay Schneiderman? Chairman Schneiderman? The former East Hampton town supervisor, who currently has the top spot in Southampton Town, is perfectly happy seeking reelection, thank you. Of course, if Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone goes after Cuomo’s seat (should it become open), Schneiderman would make a logical candidate to fill those cross-country sneakers — he served 12 years in the county legislature.

Who is the early favorite to shake things up at the White House? “I think Bloomberg has a good chance,” Schneiderman said.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com