E.H. Democrats Nominate Lys for Town Board

Infighting and acrimony were put aside on Friday night as the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee selected Councilman David Lys as its candidate for the town board seat he has occupied since he was appointed to it in January.

Mr. Lys prevailed over David Gruber, the other potential candidate in the running at the committee's meeting at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in Amagansett, 63 percent to 37 percent. 

In nominating Mr. Lys, J.B. Dos Santos called him "an extremely passionate, intelligent, hands-on person," a leader and role model who has brought voters together. Mr. Lys is the best candidate to ensure that Democrats retain all five seats of the town board, he said.

Jim MacMillan, a vocal critic of the town's board's appointment of Mr. Lys, put Mr. Gruber's name into contention, recalling the longtime political activist's unsuccessful bid for East Hampton Town supervisor in 2001, his chairmanship of the Democratic Committee, and his membership on the Democratic Party campaign committee.

Mr. Gruber's concern for the citizens of East Hampton was clear, he said. "I hope you will stand with me to elect a proud Democrat," he said, emphasizing the last word as if to contrast him with Mr. Lys.

When the result of the committee's open vote was announced, the room broke into applause. Mr. Lys thanked the group for the nomination. "I am extremely honored," he said, calling himself "a workhorse," and promising to work tirelessly for the committee and for the town. "Please give me a chance to earn your respect, if I have not already," he said.

Mr. Lys's January appointment by the four Democrats on the town board, filling the seat vacated by Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc upon his election as supervisor, had angered several members of the committee. He recently changed his party registration from Republican to Democratic, and some members of the committee have loudly criticized the town board for appointing him.

Mr. Lys is serving what would have been the remaining year of Mr. Van Scoyoc's term as a councilman. Should he win in November, he will have to stand for election again in Nov. 2019 if he wants to continue on the board.

Of the 28 committee members casting a vote on Friday, Mr. Lys won 18 and Mr. Gruber, 10. Committee members' votes were weighted, based on the number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election in the respective election districts they represented. One member abstained.