Cohen Loses Primary

Burke-Gonzalez and Bragman will be on ballot
In Tuesday’s primary, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, an incumbent East Hampton Town councilwoman, easily won a spot on the Democratic ticket. Durell Godfrey

In the Democratic primary for the two East Hampton Town Board spots on the November ballot, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Jeffrey Bragman were the winners on Tuesday, besting Zachary Cohen, who had successfully petitioned to force the primary.

In another primary race, Julie Evans, a registered Independence Party member who is running for town trustee on the Republican ticket, appears to have won one of the nine trustee spots on the Independence Party ticket. Ms. Evans also successfully petitioned to force a primary after her party failed to endorse her.  

The unofficial results posted Tuesday on the Suffolk County Board of Elections website gave Ms. Burke-Gonzalez a comfortable lead with 1,194 votes. Mr. Bragman had won 810 votes, and Mr. Cohen 662. Seven write-in votes were cast.

The final tally could change the result, however. An official at the Suffolk County Board of Elections said on Tuesday afternoon that 162 absentee ballots had been received for the Democratic Party primary for East Hampton Town Board, along with 5 for the Independence Party primary for trustee. Absentee ballots had to be postmarked by Monday and must be received no later than Tuesday. 

If their victory holds, Ms. Burke-Gonzalez and Mr. Bragman will face the Republican Party’s candidates, Paul Giardina and Jerry Larsen, in the Nov. 7 election. Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, a Democrat who is running to succeed Democratic Supervisor Larry Cantwell, will face Manny Vilar on the Republican ticket.

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez is the lone incumbent in the race for a seat on the town board. A former member of the Springs School Board, she was elected to the town board in 2013 and is in her first campaign for re-election. “I’m thrilled that the Democratic voters were engaged with our positive message,” she said yesterday, “and Peter, Jeff, and I will continue to work hard engaging folks on the issues important to all of us.” These, she said, include protecting water quality, creating affordable housing, and “serving children and seniors and hard-working families.”

The race was largely seen as one between Mr. Bragman, an attorney who is a first-time candidate, and Mr. Cohen, a past candidate for town supervisor in 2011 and town trustee in 2015.

In a debate at the East Hampton Library last month, all three candidates were largely in sync on many of the issues, though Mr. Bragman, a political newcomer, made several efforts to criticize and draw a distinction between himself and Mr. Cohen, who is chairman of the town’s nature preserve committee. 

Mr. Cohen’s campaign distributed mailings critical of Mr. Bragman’s dealings with the town’s planning board and calling him a bully. 

“I’m grateful for the support,” Mr. Bragman said yesterday of his victory. “I think we ran a very positive campaign, even when it got a little bumpy. . . . The voters showed they were not swayed by negative messaging.”

East Hampton Democrats will unite toward their common goal of victory in November, he predicted, “and everybody is welcome in the campaign. . . . We’re happy to have everybody working together, and that includes my opponent in the primary.” 

Mr. Cohen did not return calls seeking comment. 

“It’s heartening to see a lot of hard work on everybody’s behalf pay off,” Chris Kelley, the East Hampton Dem­ocrats’ campaign chairman, said on Tuesday night. “It’s a tribute to the Dem­ocrats in East Hampton that they were so energized and engaged in such an ebullient fight. We look forward to bringing everybody together and working hard in the general election to get Kathee and Jeff elected.” 

In the race for the Independence Party’s slate for trustee, Ms. Evans received 36 votes, finishing fourth of 10 candidates. The party screened candidates in May, selecting five Republicans and four Democrats. Joining Ms. Evans on the Independence Party line will be Diane McNally, Susan Vorpahl, Lindsey Hayes, Joe Bloecker, Bill Taylor, Rick Drew, Gary Cobb, and John Aldred. Rona Klopman, who is also running on the Democratic line, was edged off the  Independence ticket.

“It was gratifying to win the Independence Party line, knowing I am a member of that party,” Ms. Evans said yesterday. “I feel very good about that.” A licensed captain who operated a charter boat with her late husband, Ms. Evans earned degrees in environmental science and broadcast journalism from New York University and is a founder of the nonprofit Fisherman’s Emergency Fund.

A seat on the trustee board, she said, “is just an extension of the work I’ve been doing for many years. . . . The combination of my life experience on the water and in the water, and my education, will bring a lot to the trustees.”