Beating the major parties to the punch, the East Hampton Independence Party announced its 2013 slate on Tuesday, naming Larry Cantwell as its supervisor candidate, and Fred Overton and Councilman Dominick Stanzione as its choices for town councilman.
“I want to see a mixed board that can work together,” Elaine Jones, the party’s chairwoman, said Tuesday. Mr. Cantwell, the East Hampton Village administrator, is also seeking the Democratic nomination. Mr. Overton, the town clerk, and Mr. Stanzione are the Republicans’ nominees for town board.
The party also screened four town board hopefuls seeking the Democratic nomination: Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, Job Potter, Kathy Cunningham, and Peter Wadsworth.
In the end, its choices came down to experience, the party said in a release. “Experience was clearly the most impressive quality among the candidates this year.”
Mr. Cantwell has worked for the village for 31 years and served on the town board and as an elected town bay constable before that. Mr. Stanzione, who had been nominated by the Independence Party in 2009 as well, is completing his first term on the town board. Mr0. Overton has been the clerk for 13 years and was a town assessor and town trustee for 12 years before that.
In 2011, the Independence Party ran its own candidates for town board, Bill Mott and Marilyn Behan, but typically the party backs candidates on one of the major party tickets. This year, Ms. Jones was determined to nominate candidates who would get the nod from either the Democrats or the Republicans, but to do that she had to rely on her political instincts.
Zachary Cohen, the Democrats’ supervisor candidate in 2011, is still hoping to win their nomination and also screened on April 23 with the Independence Party. In 2011, the local Independence Party wanted to endorse Mr. Cohen, but was overridden by the county party. “I still respect Zach,” Ms. Jones said Tuesday, “but I just don’t think it’s his time.” The vote to back Mr. Cantwell was unanimous, she said.
“I’m honored to accept their nomination,” Mr. Cantwell said yesterday. Asked if he would consider an endorsement from Republicans as well, should it be offered, he said, “My focus of attention is to earn the nomination of the Democratic Committee, and the rest of it is just speculation.” Backing by the Independence Party can offer staunch party loyalists a way to vote for a candidate they like without voting for a party they don’t. “I have a number of friends who are strong Republicans who might break out in a cold sweat having to pull a different line for me,” Mr. Cantwell said. “They will sweat a little less pulling the Independence lever.”
In its announcement Tuesday, the Independence Party said Mr. Cantwell “carries with him the peaceful demeanor needed to bring consensus and unified forward thinking among people.” His years in public service are “testament to the success of his approach,” the party said.
Mr. Overton, in his various roles, “has been presented with difficult and confidential situations that were handled with finesse and genuine kindness,” the party said. “He is unflappable.”
And Mr. Stanzione, the party wrote, has “stood up to politics and made decisions based on what is good for the people and the environment.” In the past three-plus years on the board, he “has shown his ability to work with others and think for himself. More importantly, he has been able to flourish under pressure when he has had to battle to be an independent thinker.”
The party also nominated Carole Brennan, the deputy clerk, for town clerk, calling her “a natural to slide into the seat. . . .” Joe Bloecker, a town trustee and the Republicans’ choice for town assessor, also got the Independence nod. “Now here’s a man who has done it all when it comes to qualifications for town assessor,” the release said. He has bought and sold real estate, been a contractor and carpenter, and “is no stranger to working hard for a living.”
For town justice, the party named Carl Irace, also the Republicans’ candidate. He was an assistant town attorney from 2010 to 2012 and provided counsel to the zoning board of appeals, town board, and Planning and Natural Resources Departments during that time. He now offers legal counsel to the Amagansett Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station, in addition to his private work. He is running for the seat that will be vacated by Catherine A. Cahill, a Democrat.
For highway superintendent, Steve Lynch, the Republican incumbent, got the nod, and earned praise for having “saved the town a bundle of money, improved working conditions for his men, made homeowners happy, and kept us rolling as well as possible during storms,” the local Independence Party said in a release.
The Independence Party nominated all but one of the seven incumbent trustees seeking re-election — the Democrat Stephen Lester and the Republicans Stephanie Forsberg, Sean McCaffrey, Nat Miller, Tim Bock, and Diane McNally. The party also threw its support behind Brian Pardini, Brian Byrnes, and Dennis Curles, who will run on the Republican ticket. Ms. Jones said she had told Deborah Klughers, a Democrat running to keep her seat, that she and all the other incumbents would get the endorsement. In the end, her fellow committee members failed to follow suit, she said.
Mr. Cohen, who congratulated Mr. Cantwell on the nomination, criticized the Independence Party for “the unfair way” that Ms. Klughers was treated. “The trustee incumbents were . . . told they did not need to attend the screening, which I confirmed the night I was there. Under those circumstances it is completely unfair that Deb was not either nominated or given a chance at a future date to screen for a place that the Independence Party could have held open.”
Republicans have yet to nominate a candidate for supervisor. Democrats will make their choices official at a nominating convention on May 15. Mr. Cohen has said he expects the nomination for supervisor to be a floor fight. If so, Mr. Cantwell said, he is “confident that I will earn the support of the Democratic Committee, ultimately, based on my years of experience in the community and my 37 years of public service.”