Burke-Gonzalez, Bragman Win Spots on Democratic Ticket

Jeff Bragman and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez bested Zachary Cohen in a three-way Democratic primary for two spots on East Hampton Town Board. Durell Godfrey Photos

Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Jeffrey Bragman are the apparent winners in the Democratic primary for East Hampton Town Board, trailed by Zachary Cohen, who forced the primary after being passed over for the Democratic Committee’s endorsement. They will face the Republican Party’s candidates, Paul Giardina and Jerry Larsen, in the Nov. 7 election. 

In another primary race, Julie Evans, a registered Independence Party member who is running for town trustee on the Republican ticket, appears to have won one of the nine trustee spots on the Independence party ticket. Ms. Evans also successfully petitioned to force a primary after her party failed to endorse her race and will appear on the Independence Party line. 

The unofficial results posted Tuesday on the Suffolk County Board of Elections website gave Ms. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez a comfortable lead with 1,194 votes. Mr. Bragman had won 810 votes, and Mr. Cohen 662. Seven write-in votes were cast. 

The final tally could change the result, however. An official at the Suffolk County Board of Elections said on Tuesday afternoon that 162 absentee ballots had been received for the Democratic Party primary for East Hampton Town Board, along with 5 for the Independence Party primary for trustee. Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Monday.

In the race for the Independence Party’s slate for trustee, Ms. Evans received 36 votes, finishing fourth of 10 candidates. Nine candidates will appear on each party’s ticket for the nine-person trustee body. 

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez is the lone incumbent in the race and easily won her spot on the ticket. A former member of the Springs School Board, she is seeking a second term on the town board, to which she was elected in 2013. 

The race was largely seen as one between Mr. Bragman, an attorney who is a first-time candidate, and Mr. Cohen, a past candidate for town supervisor in 2011 and town trustee in 2015. In a debate at the East Hampton Library last month, all three candidates were largely in sync on many of the issues, though Mr. Bragman, a political newcomer, made several efforts to criticize and draw a distinction between himself and Mr. Cohen, who is chairman of the town's nature preserve committee. 

Mr. Bragman has represented the town’s architectural review board, zoning board of appeals, and planning board, as well as private applicants before various appointed boards. He was counsel for the North Haven Village Zoning Board of Appeals and served as that village’s attorney. He is a member of the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund Advisory Opinions Bureau. East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. have endorsed his candidacy. 

In her campaign material, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez wrote of how confidence in town government has been restored over the past four years, citing the town’s recent budgets, which she said were both balanced and socially responsible. As a reflection of priorities, the budget demonstrates the community’s values, she wrote, pointing to funding for Meals on Wheels, mental health services for youth, the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center, and Project Most, an after-school program that operates in the East Hampton and Springs Schools. “As a working mother myself, I am fiercely committed to addressing the pressing needs of our children, seniors, and hard-working families,” she wrote. 

Ms. Evans is among 10 candidates competing for the nine spots on the Independence Party ticket. The party screened candidates in May, selecting five Republicans and four Democrats. Joining her on the Independence Party line will be Diane McNally, Susan Vorpahl, Lindsey Hayes, Joe Bloecker, Bill Taylor, Rick Drew, Gary Cobb, and John Aldred. Rona Klopman, who is also running on the Democratic line, lost a spot on the Independence ticket.