G.O.P. Waiting On Jay

Will the onetime town supe seek his old job?
Suffolk Legislator Jay Schneiderman, left, with Carl Irace at an East Hampton Town Republican Party event Wednesday. Mr. Schneiderman may or may not run for his old post as town supervisor. Morgan McGivern

    With East Hampton’s Republican Committee settled on its candidates for town board, town justice, highway superintendent, town clerk, assessor, and five of nine trustee slots, all eyes are turning now to Jay Schneiderman, who admitted yesterday that he remains undecided about whether to run for a sixth term as county legislator or try for a town supervisor comeback on the G.O.P. ticket.
    “It’s a big decision for me,” Mr. Schneiderman said yesterday. “There would have to be solid community support for me to take that spot.”
    To gauge the level of support for a return to East Hampton Town Hall — he was supervisor for two terms, starting in 2000 — Mr. Schneiderman commissioned a 10-question poll, conducted Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. “I wanted to get a sense of where the community is at,” he said, and if voters feel “I can be someone who can unify the town.” He was frustrated to learn that another candidate or party had done a longer poll at the same time. “It would have been nice if they had waited.”
    If the poll were to find that people feel the same about him as they do about Larry Cantwell, the East Hampton Village administrator, believed to be the Democrats’ top choice for supervisor, Mr. Schneiderman said he would be “unlikely to run.”
    That would leave East Hampton Republicans to search out another supervisor candidate. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who had not screened for the spot with the G.O.P. but nevertheless kept people guessing about his intentions, finally announced that he does not want a third term. Kurt Kappel, the G.O.P. chairman, remains hopeful that Mr. Schneiderman’s early and continued interest in the supervisor’s seat will prevail.
    “I’ve been clear from the beginning that I’m seriously considering it,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I still am.” But the results of this week’s poll will be crucial to his decision.
    “This is a deliberative process for me and I’d like to consider that data,” the legislator said. “Sometimes in elected office, you find yourself talking to the same people and you have assumptions that can be incorrect. . . . Polling sort of breaks you out of that.” He expects to have results this week.
    Mr. Schneiderman was first elected to the Legislature on the Republican ticket, but left the G.O.P. to join the Independence Party midway through his tenure. In 2011, though he won re-election with nearly 66 percent of the vote, he did not have Republican support, running instead on the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families lines. If he were to run again for county legislator, it would be his last term. “I have a legislative district that seems happy with me, but I can only do it for two more years.”
    Mr. Schneiderman has asked the East Hampton Democrats’ screening committee for an interview, which is scheduled for Sunday, despite the Democrats’ likely backing of Mr. Cantwell. “I caucus with the Democrats in Hauppauge,” he said. “I have a long history of land preservation, a good fiscal record . . . a history of bipartisanship. . . . If they want somebody that’s partisan, that’s not me, but I can understand if they do.”
    Mr. Schneiderman’s deliberations aside, East Hampton Republicans have voted, as expected, to nominate Councilman Dominick Stanzione for a second term and Fred Overton, the town clerk, to also run for town board, according to Mr. Kappel. Carol Brennan, the deputy clerk, was chosen to run for Mr. Overton’s position, and Steve Lynch was supported for a second term as highway superintendent. Carl Irace, a former town attorney, was picked to run for town justice, Joe Bloecker for town assessor, and Diane McNally, Sean McCaffrey, Stephanie Forsberg, Nat Miller, and Tim Bock were nominated to run again for town trustee.
    The G.O.P. has four more trustee candidates to nominate. Mr. Kappel expects those nominations will come when the committee meets again on Wednesday evening.
    Democrats are in the midst of their candidate interviews now.