Lys Leads Vilar in Dollars

According to figures filed earlier this month, the Democratic candidate for East Hampton Town Board, David Lys, has a substantial financial edge over his Republican opponent, Manny Vilar.

The precise depth of Mr. Vilar’s war chest was not available; his campaign committee missed an Oct. 5 reporting deadline, according to data from the New York State Board of Elections.

Mr. Lys’s hoard of campaign cash could be cut into, however, due to donations that exceeded the amount individuals can give to a single candidate. The error was first brought to light by local Republicans.

In all, the Friends of David Lys reported $31,000 in apparently excess contributions from eight individuals, the largest $10,000 in August from Katharine J. Rayner of East Hampton. In East Hampton Town general election races, the maximum is $1,000. Gifts to party committees and PACs have higher limits.

The over-the-limit filings were a bookkeeping mistake, Christopher Kelley, one of the Town Democratic Party leaders, said this week. The Friends of David Lys was intended to be a multi-candidate committee, he said; however, when it was created, it was identified as supporting Mr. Lys alone. This, Mr. Kelley said, was an inadvertent error.

Mr. Kelly said the party is in process of setting up a multi-candidate committee, at the direction of the Board of Elections, to be called Campaign 2018, to which the money above the single-candidate limit would be transferred. He disputed the Republicans’ characterization of the donations as in excess. 

“Friends of David Lys was always openly raising and spending money and reporting on behalf of almost 30 candidates, including the committee races. This allowed each donor to contribute $1,000 per candidate for the primary and $1,000 for the general election,” Mr. Kelley said in an email.

“As you know, it is our historical M.O. to use a single multi-candidate committee in our election campaigns,” he said.

As of the Oct. 5 reporting deadline, the Friends of David Lys and East Hampton Town Democratic Committee together had about $54,000 available.

The East Hampton Town Republican Committee reported about $15,200 in the bank in its October filing, most of it carried over from the 2017 campaign. In his July statement Mr. Vilar said he had just under $2,800 in his election fund.

With Election Day on Nov. 6, spending on behalf of both town board candidates has been robust. Friends of David Lys reported expenses of more than $18,000 after their man fended off a primary challenge from David Gruber of East Hampton.

The East Hampton Town Republican Committee spent $7,300 during the same period, according to its board of elections filing.

A final financial pre-election report from the committees must be submitted by Friday, Oct. 26.