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Three primary elections for town office in Southampton on Tuesday, June 22, are expected to cost taxpayers $118,000, even though it is likely that only a few hundred voters will cast ballots.
The races involve the Working Families Party, where Sean McArdle, a former Conservative, and his wife, Miranda Schultz, who was formerly registered as a Republican, changed their party affiliation in January and will challenge the Working Families nominees, Robin Long and Tommy John Schiavoni, who are both Democrats. A third race pits Marc Braeger, who was formerly a Conservative, against Democrat Thomas Neely for the party’s nominee for highway superintendent.
There are also town justice primaries on the Working Families, Democratic, and Conservative lines. Bryan Browns and Southampton Town and Village Justice Barbara Wilson are challenging two Democrats, Adam Grossman and Shari P. Oster, for the Working Families nod, and Justice Wilson is also challenging Mr. Grossman and Ms. Oster for a place on the Democratic line and Mr. Browns and Patrick J. Gunn for a spot on the Conservative line.
Members of both the Working Families and Democratic parties have cried foul over the move by former Republicans and Conservatives to wage primaries on their lines, calling them raiders, who do not share the parties’ political philosophies and are only running to deny those parties’ preferred candidates a place on the ballot. The move is also expensive, they say.
Suffolk County Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner Anita Katz said the primaries will cost taxpayers about $118,000 to run. It costs approximately $2,000 to rent and staff each of the 42 election districts in the town, she said. In addition, it costs the BOE another $10,000 to rent voting machines. Finally, there is another $2,000 in costs for each of … [more]