Steven Gaines is looking to move from the hedgerow to the dais.
The author of best-sellers such as Philistines at the Hedgerow, Passion and Property in the Hamptons and The Love You Make: An Insiders Story of the Beatles has thrown his hat in the local political ring.
Gaines, the co-founder of the , confirmed he screened with the East Hampton Republican Party for a town councilman nomination. "I don't know if I have the nomination yet," Gaines said, adding that he's hopeful. "In the meanwhile, I'm studying for this."
Republican Chairwoman Trace Duryea was mum on who else has screened for the two open positions, now held by Democrats. However, the party gathered at Gurney's Inn on Friday to kick-off the campaign to re-elect Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
In fact, it was Wilkinson who suggested to Gaines to run in the first place. "I don't think he ever asked me if I was republican. When I asked him, 'Why me? Why do you want me?,' He just said, 'I want your brain.'"
Gaines has been on the South Fork for 38 years and in Wainscott for most of them. "I know East Hampton backwards and forwards, inside and out. I know it like the palm of my hand," he said.
"I think it's the right time," Gaines said of his entrée into the political scene. At 64, he said he's grown thick skin and is ready for "people to take pot-shots" at him.
Gains may be a registered Republican, but he said he considers himself an Independent. "I worked on the Giuliani presidential campaign even when I was a registered Democrat."
While he said he voted for President Obama, "I would have voted for McCain if he wasn't running with Palin."
But Gaines said he's glad that on the local level he doesn't have to concern himself with large social issues, but rather with the topics he has seen come before the town board at recent meetings; the cost of replacing the rusted gas tanks or slowing traffic by a school.
"I don’t really have a specific agenda. I am sure there are things that will provoke specific interest. Right now, I really appreciate what Bill Wilkinson is doing and that’s one reason why I joined MAC," Gaines said. Under Wilkinson's watch, the Media Advisory Committee is proactively working to attract film and television crews to shoot in town.
A contributing editor to The New York Magazine and a longtime journalist, Gaines said his career as a mainly non-fiction writer lends itself well to politics. "You tackle a problem, you do an enormous amount of research, you try to figure out what a solution is," he said.