Schneiderman Evades a Democratic Primary

Fred Havemeyer’s name was stricken last week from the September primary ballot in Southampton Town after two Suffolk County Board of Elections commissioners denied petitions that would have allowed him to challenge Supervisor Jay Schneiderman for the Democratic Party line.

The town’s Democratic Committee, which is supporting Mr. Schneiderman, a member of the Independence Party, for re-election, had challenged 671 signatures of the 699 submitted by Mr. Havemeyer.

Gordon Herr, the party chairman, said this week by email that he “had a team of people who worked tirelessly in reviewing every single line of every single sheet of Fred Havemeyer’s petitions.” They found “major irregularities with the petitions,” he said.

The Democratic and Republican commissioners agreed and invalidated nearly 400 of them, Mr. Havemeyer said, leaving him 163 shy of the 500 required.

“For someone who wants to be town supervisor, he did not perform well in the very basic process and procedures of petitioning,” Mr. Herr said. After the Democratic committee challenged the petitions, Mr. Havemeyer hired Vincent J. Messina Jr., an elections-law specialist with Sinnreich Kosakoff & Messina L.L.P., to represent him.

On Tuesday, Mr. Havemeyer, a Bridgehampton resident who served as a Southampton Town trustee for 12 years, said his supporters were filing a Freedom of Information request with the county regarding the decision and supporting documentation. “At this point,” he said, “everything is up in the air.”

In an official statement, he said he would continue his campaign to make the environment “a major objective of government in Southampton” even though his name will not be on the ballot. He has been an opponent of The Hills at Southampton, a planned development district that proposes a residential development and golf course on 600 acres in East Quogue. Mr. Havemeyer had been asked to run against Mr. Schneiderman by the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum, a group opposed to The Hills.

“I remain hopeful that the other members of the Southampton Town Board will disapprove The Hills in the wake of their having repealed planned development districts as 'let's-make-a-deal zoning,’ ” he said. The town board repealed the P.D.D. law last month, making The Hills the last such application to be allowed before it.  Mr. Herr and the Democratic committee are now focusing on the Nov. 7 general election, hoping to retain a majority on the town board.