G.O.P. Aims to Be Inclusive

The East Hampton Town Republican Committee, under its new chairman, Manny Vilar, will hold a winter gathering next Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Palm restaurant in East Hampton. 

The committee, Mr. Vilar said on Monday, will begin screening candidates for townwide offices “almost immediately,” given the State Senate’s recent vote to hold state primary elections on the same day as federal primaries, which will move the next primary election from September to June. 

All have been invited to the party, both the Palm event and as potential candidates and voters, Mr. Vilar said. 

“We’re happy to screen anybody that’s interested in East Hampton. Our purpose as a town committee is to focus on town issues, to try and bring balance to government, so we are screening anybody that’s interested in running. Party affiliation is unimportant. What’s important are the values a person brings.”

East Hampton Republicans, he said, “are interested in the bread-and-butter issues that affect every local in East Hampton: quality of life, contamination of drinking water, preserving our community and way of life.” 

Mr. Vilar was named as chairman of the committee after an unsuccessful run for town board last year. He also mounted a bid for supervisor in 2017. 

As the committee’s chairman, he succeeds Amos Goodman, who was asked to resign by committee officials in the wake of the 2018 campaign. Days after Mr. Goodman’s resignation last month, the Suffolk County district attorney’s office announced fraud-related charges against him as well as Pat Mansir, the vice chairwoman of the East Hampton Independence Party. The action followed more than a year of charges of fraud leveled by members of each party against the other. 

With that contretemps behind it, the committee still faces a challenge in winning townwide elections: As of yesterday, registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 8,146 to 3,753, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. There are, however, 4,719 registered “blanks,” or voters with no party affiliation, and 1,067 registered Independence Party voters. 

Upon his election to lead the committee, Mr. Vilar called for a coalition of voters and likened his party to the East Hampton Reform Democrats, a splinter group led by David Gruber that fielded its own candidates for town board and the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee last year. 

Mr. Vilar has asked that residents interested in screening with the Republicans call him at 631-324-0528 or send an email to chairmanvilar@gmail.com or ehnygop@gmail.com. 

“We’re interested in Republicans, Democrats, Independents, blanks — I don’t care. If you have an interest in East Hampton and don’t like the direction the town government is headed and think there needs to be some change, if you’re a true environmentalist, if you’re really concerned about fiscal integrity, party affiliation is unimportant. We want you to screen with us.” 

Edward F. Cox, the chairman of the New York Republican State Committee, “has given us his well wishes,” Mr. Vilar said. “We’re hoping to have a good soirée, to put a good foot forward.” 

Along with supervisor and two seats on the town board, voters will choose nine town trustees, two assessors, and town justice in Nov. 5 election. 

Tickets for the Republican Committee’s winter event are $50. Three tiered sponsorships are also available. Those interested in attending have been asked to R.S.V.P. to ehvote@gmail.com.