Taking a page from East Hampton Town, there’s a slate of five “fusion” candidates for seats on the Southampton Town Trustees.
The Suffolk County Libertarian Party, traditionally a fringe party with little or no support in the past, announced the endorsement of candidates this week, in time to get them on the party line come Election Day in November. Three of the candidates are veteran members of the board — one, Bill Pell, is currently a trustee. Eric Shultz and Fred Havemeyer are former members of the board. Thea Fry and Don Law round out the slate.
“We observed the politics in Southampton and decided to invite a group of candidates that we felt shared the same ideals and would work well together regardless of party affiliation,” Michael McDermott, chairman of the Suffolk County Libertarian Party said. “This slate allows the voter an opportunity to choose candidates based on experience and resolve to protect the environment and the people’s right to access the waters and beaches.”
The candidates, for the most part, seem to be angling for additional ballot spots to give voters disenchanted with the traditional parties a chance to vote for them on another party line. Shultz, for example, is already on the Democratic Party line, though he had to win a primary battle in June to get there. Pell is on the Independence Party line. Fry and Law are both on the Republican ticket. The surprise Libertarian Party maneuver most benefits Havemeyer, who was not chosen by his own party, the Democrats, and lost a primary battle to the seat as well.
Southampton Town Trustee Republican party candidates are Ed Warner, Scott Horowitz, Fry, Law, and Megan Heckman.
Southampton Democrats on the Trustees’ ballot are Captain Andrew Brosnan, Pell, Ann Welker, and Davis Mayer, who announced recently he is no longer actively seeking a seat.
Shultz served 11 two-year terms on the Trustees and is a former president; he stepped down in 2017. Pell was first elected in 2009. Havemeyer had spent most of the past two decades on the board and is a former secretary treasurer of the trustees.
“The Libertarian party has put together a bipartisan group,” Havemeyer said. “To me, it’s the ability to be a voice.” Law owns a charter fishing business. Fry ran unsuccessfully for a spot on the Southampton Town Board two years ago.
In East Hampton, fractured efforts by the Southampton Republicans and East Hampton Reform Democrats led to the creation of a so-called Fusion Party, which ran afoul of the County Board of Elections. Most of the so-called Fusion candidates are running on the Independence Party line.