Bipartisan Victory for East Hampton

David Lys’s sweep of East Hampton Town’s 19 election districts in the unofficial results in Tuesday’s vote can be attributed to several factors. Top among them are his strong friendships and how active he has been both inside and outside of town government. Given the Democratic registration edge, the outcome might have been preordained following his victory in a September primary. The margin by which he surpassed Manny Vilar, the Republican candidate, tells another story.

Up to Election Day, Mr. Lys had been a registered Republican for as long as he had been able to vote. This was, he explained, a nod to his father’s views more than anything and because political affiliation meant little to him. It was enough for some on the Democratic side to grumble, and eventually David Gruber tried and failed to wrest the party’s nomination from him in a bizarre intraparty struggle.

For Mr. Vilar, David Lys was always going to be a difficult man to beat. Throughout the long campaign, Mr. Vilar was always a gentleman; he did not engage in impugning others’ characters. For the most part, he and his supporters ran a dignified race.

If the splinter Reform Democrats had succeeded in getting Mr. Gruber’s name on the ballot, the outcome might have gone the other way. The general election did not, in part because Republican-leaning East Hampton voters were comfortable voting for the overtly nonpartisan Mr. Lys, which could explain the resulting landslide. The party Mr. Lys was registered with did not seem to matter.

Though he was initially appointed over some objection to fill Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc’s vacant seat, East Hampton voters have now given him a solid thumbs up in his first victory at the polls. They may also have sent a message to both parties that the political tribalism infecting much of the rest of the country is notably less welcome here.

Expect Mr. Lys to operate with greater authority now. He has a number of areas he wants to pursue, top of the list being places to live for year-round members of the work force. With the strong voter backing he now has, he can press forward on the issues that matter to him most.