New Leader Only One of G.O.P.’s Challenges
With the resignation and subsequent arraignment of Amos Goodman, the now-former chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, the party must seek a new leader.
Kyle Ballou, the committee’s secretary, said last month that he and other committee officials had sent a letter to Mr. Goodman asking for his resignation after learning of an investigation by the Public Integrity Bureau of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. That investigation burst into public view on Tuesday night when the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office announced fraud-related charges against Mr. Goodman and Pat Mansir related to signatures gathered on nominating petitions ahead of last month’s election. A separate story appears on the front page of today’s paper.
The committee’s vice chairman, Michael Jordan, is now its acting chairman. Mr. Jordan said on Tuesday, before the district attorney’s announcement, that the committee will move to elect a new leader in the new year, but he will not seek the position.
“What you need is someone that will be very active on the committee,” he said. “We need younger people. Frankly, both parties here have a lot of elderly people in them. I’m not inclined to devote the amount of time that would be needed for someone who’s going to be actively running the party — preferably, someone who’s not as long in the tooth as I am,” said Mr. Jordan, who is 70 and retired.
In a town in which Republicans are greatly outnumbered by Democrats — there are 3,739 registered Republicans in East Hampton versus 8,122 registered Democrats, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections — a Republican candidate’s path to electoral victory is narrow. A 5-to-0 Democratic supermajority sits on the town board, although David Lys, who was appointed to the board and won election last month, changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic shortly before his appointment. In 2017, the Republicans’ candidates for supervisor and councilman — Manny Vilar, Paul Giardina, and Jerry Larsen — were defeated by substantial margins, and just two of nine Republican candidates were elected to the town trustees.
“In terms of registration, our party is very much outgunned,” Carole Campolo, the committee’s former vice chairwoman, said on Monday. “Whoever’s going to run the party needs to decide how to proceed, given all the challenges it faces. That doesn’t mean the party should give up; the party has a really good message and needs to get it out there. The people that will run will have to make choices as to how to do that.”
The message, said Ms. Campolo, a former deputy executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, is “We stand for the taxpayers, for lower taxes, and for efficient government.” None of these, she said, are evident at the local level. “As a former Democrat, I think that Democratic policies are so contradictory to what is good for the middle class, it’s astounding to me that they get as many votes as they do. I think the Republicans stand for the working man in this town.”
Fewer regulations and environmentalism are not mutually exclusive, Ms. Campolo said. “You can be for the environment, very much so, without some of the extraordinary things homeowners are asked to do — spending money on surveys, lawyers, an architect, just to get a piece of a deck put on.” East Hampton Republicans, she said, are “trying to mitigate hardships on homeowners while maintaining high environmental standards.”
Finding and fielding candidates who can win elections in East Hampton will top next year’s agenda, Mr. Jordan said, once the committee’s new leader has been chosen. “Certainly, the Republican committee has its challenges in East Hampton, with demographics. It will be a challenge, and one reason we need someone younger who will devote time, effort, and energy. Hopefully that’s what we’ll do. . . . Once we have the committee lineup, we’ll go forward and discuss what our plan for the future will be.”