Endorsement Fight is On In Democratic Congressional Primary

David Calone of Setauket and Anna Throne-Holst of Sag Harbor are vying for the Democratic nomination for the East End's congressional seat.
David Calone of Setauket and Anna Throne-Holst of Sag Harbor are vying for the Democratic nomination for the East End’s congressional seat.

The gloves are coming off this week in the Democratic primary for the First Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Lee Zeldin.

Former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who stepped down as supervisor at the end of 2015, and Suffolk County Planning Commission Chairman David Calone, a venture capitalist from Setauket, are both seeking the Democratic nomination to run for Mr. Zeldin’s seat.

While both candidates have up until now focused on their philosophical differences with Mr. Zeldin on national issues ranging from gun control to funding for Planned Parenthood, Mr. Calone’s campaign announced this Monday that they’d received endorsements from nearly every Democratic South Fork town board member, many of whom had worked closely with Ms. Throne-Holst on local issues here.

County Legislator Bridget Fleming, who served with Ms. Throne-Holst until the end of 2015 on the Southampton Town Board, has backed Mr. Calone, along with East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, East Hampton Town Board members Peter Van Scoyoc, Sylvia Overby and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and newly elected Southampton Town Councilman John Bouvier. Notably absent among those endorsements is new Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

“We need a leader who understands how to create a sustainable economic future for the East End,” said the elected Democrats in a joint statement Monday. “As Chair of the Suffolk County Planning Commission, Dave has been a leader in working to protect our water quality and has developed a nationally recognized plan to protect our environment and promote renewable energy. Along with the knowledge he’s gained from helping to start and build high-tech companies, Dave has the experience needed to ensure Congress makes the right investments to create good-paying jobs right here on Long Island.”

Ms. Throne-Holst, a long-time member of the Independence Party, has long touted her independence from Democratic Party politics and her willingness to work across party lines in the interest of good government. She decided to register as a Democrat to seek the congressional nomination.

Her campaign manager, Andrew Grunwald, pointed out Monday that Ms. Throne-Holst does have many Democratic supporters, especially on the national level.

“Anna is proud to have been endorsed by Democrats at every level of government representing Suffolk County and beyond, including Shelter Island Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty, Suffolk County Legislator Bill Lindsay, Southampton Democratic Chairman Gordon Herr, U.S. Congressman Steve Israel and many other members of the New York delegation,” said Mr. Grunwald. “Anna has been endorsed by Democratic leaders on a national level led by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.”

Ms. Throne-Holst has also received the endorsement of South Fork State Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

“In Southampton, Anna has shown a proven commitment to the values that we share both as Democrats and as Long Islanders — better managing the town budget to invest in job creation, education, and senior services,” said Mr. Thiele in his endorsement. “I know Anna will work hard in Congress to make sure every Long Island family has a fair shot at the American Dream.”

While the endorsement race continues, Ms. Throne-Holst had a slight lead in fundraising as of the most recent Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filings at the end of September, 2015.

As of Sept. 30, Ms. Throne-Holst had raised $851,643 since her campaign began on April 1, 2015, while Mr. Calone had raised $710,772 since his campaign began on Jan. 1, 2015.

Ms. Throne-Holst had spent $68,362, leaving her with $783,280 on hand. Mr. Calone, who loaned his campaign $225,000 of his own money, had spent $116,006, leaving him with $819,765 (including his personal loan).

Their end-of-year filing information for 2015 is expected by the end of January.

Both campaigns trail Lee Zeldin by considerable margins. As of Sept. 30, 2015, according to FEC reports, Mr. Zeldin’s campaign had raised $1,610,788 and had spent $432,037, leaving them with $1,222,659 on hand.


Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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