Democrats Deliver Resounding Rebuke

Voters expressed themselves loud and clear on Election Day, as Democratic candidates enjoyed huge wins, including governorship in Virginia and New Jersey and in many other contests. In East Hampton, it was the same, with Peter Van Scoyoc and nearly the entire Democratic slate winning strongly. In Southampton, forgetting for a moment the politically mercurial Jay Schneiderman’s re-election as supervisor, voters rejected a Republican incumbent, instead awarding seats on the town board to two Democrats.

As he did in races elsewhere in the country, President Trump cast a shadow across the polling places. The East Hampton Republican Committee chairman posed for a photo with a cardboard cutout of the president during an inauguration celebration in January, which helped set a negative tone. This was going to be a hard fight anyway for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with a deeply unpopular president. For one, registered Democrats now outnumber Republicans in East Hampton Town in 18 of the 19 election districts. But in off-year elections like this, turnout plays the biggest role, and Democratic voters, and those energized by their dismay about the country’s direction, had an edge for that reason as well.

Digging into the numbers in East Hampton, Mr. Van Scoyoc’s win on Tuesday rivaled that of the outgoing Supervisor Larry Cantwell’s re-election two years ago, when hundreds of thousands of dollars in airport-related money that went to Republicans outraged many voters.

It also did not help that the Republicans’ standard-bearers here had counted on their experience outside of elected office. Asked to select town board members, East Hampton voters have generally favored candidates who came up through the ranks of public service on the many appointed town boards or committees.

The past three election cycles in East Hampton have been difficult ones for the Republican Committee and its chairman, Reg Cornelia, who said he would step down at the end of the year. Monolithic government, even at this level, carries great risks, however, and it is important that the G.O.P. rebound by recruiting popular centrist residents to carry its message forward.