Democrats Fight Over First-Time Official

A fuss that, on the surface, has to do with the East Hampton Library’s request to hold its Authors Night fund-raiser and children’s fair on town-owned land in Amagansett has riled a certain subset of old line Democrats. But the ire may be payback directed at Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, who the objectors see as the main force behind the nomination of David Lys, a former registered Republican, to fill a town board seat and run for election as a Democrat in November. 

One could simply ignore the imbroglio as a case of “if he’s for it, I’m against it,” but that would miss the danger of intrapartisan divisions — as well as possibly lead to the ouster of an already valuable and hard-working first-time public official.

In Mr. Lys, the town board found a political moderate, young father, and deeply involved member of the community. One would hope that this would have been enough for the Democratic naysayers, considering they already hold a super-majority on the board, but it was not. Instead, they have thrown mud at Mr. Lys and Mr. Van Scoyoc in a quest for political purity. One Democratic activist went so far as to compare the supervisor to President Trump, an outrageous assertion so absurd that it speaks for itself. 

It is a little difficult to believe that some Democratic stalwarts would take such an obviously zero-sum approach to who runs Town Hall. Even if Mr. Lys were secretly aligned with local Republicans, as a single opposition vote against a four-person Democratic town board majority, he would not represent a major threat. At least as we see it, Mr. Lys puts East Hampton before party, and, anyway, has changed his registration in advance of the run to serve out the remainder Mr. Van Scoyoc’s term. And even if he were to remain registered as a Republican, or perhaps join one of the other political parties, it is important to remember that single-perspective dominance of government is a far greater problem. 

The anti-Lys faction has said to expect a primary challenge against him to determine who will stand in the general election in November. Fair enough. Let the party as a whole decide. In the meantime, those Democrats who are making trouble should be satisfied with the clear four-vote advantage they have on the town board and save their powder for the far more important battles to come as Election Day nears, such as those that will define this country’s very future.