Jay Schneiderman isn't saying yes to a run for East Hampton Town Supervisor — yet.
"I'm still looking at all my options," Schneiderman said on Wednesday, despite a vote in his favor from the Republican Committee two weeks for the nomination.
A member of the Independence party, Schneiderman is a county legislator. He is up for re-election this year, and he can only run for the position once more before he reaches the term limit. The decision to run for supervisor or not is a major career decision, he said.
"I'm leaning toward running for supervisor, but I have to consider my family and other factors," he said.
Schneiderman's screening with the Democrats is scheduled for a week from Sunday, but the screening committee said they won't make any decisions until May. Schneiderman said he wants to wait, at least, until after he screens.
Schneiderman, who served as town supervisor when he was a registered Republican, said he also only wanted to run if there was an open seat, referring to incumbent Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
Wilkinson did not screen with the Republicans because he said he wanted to wait until March or April to make a decision. Last week, after the Republicans revealed they were going to endorse Schneiderman, Wilkinson finally confirmed he wasn't going to make another bid for supervisor, though he was disappointed in the Republican party for not waiting until he had made up his mind.
"I'm not clear yet whether it's really an open seat," Schneiderman said. "To me that's a confusing element."
Schneiderman said he didn't want to be seen as the person who "pushed Wilkinson out," adding that he campaigned for Wilkinson in the past.
Wilkinson confirmed on Wednesday that he is not interested in running at this point, even though he's still disappointed his own party made a decision before he was ready to make his.
"The fact that Jay wants to know that answer is indicative that Jay doesn't want to end his elected career with a loss," Wilkinson said. "He's either in the game or he's not in the game."
Meanwhile, Kurt Kappel, the chairman of the Republican Party in East Hampton, had said he hoped to make a formal announcement at the trustees' scallop dinner, which is scheduled for March 6, four days before the Democrats screen. It wasn't clear whether that announcement would still be made then.
Kappel said last week that the Republicans felt they didn't have time to waste this election season and wanted to identify a candidate early, which is why he said they couldn't wait for Wilkinson's decision in March or April.
However, he said an illness in his family and Schneiderman having been out of the country on vacation until this weekend hadn't left much time for them to speak.
"I appreciate everybody allowing me the time to make the best decision for the community and to make the best decision for my family," Schneiderman said.
"Obviously if the Democrats want me, and the Republicans want me, how could I possibly say no?," Schneiderman said. "Do I think it's going to happen? No, probably not."
As someone who has been aligned with the Democrats on the county level recently, he said he thought a cross endorsement on the local level was more likely before Larry Cantwell, the East Hampton Village Administrator, expressed interest in running for supervisor on the Democratic ticket. Still, Schneiderman said he hopes the Democrats will see him as a "unifying individual."
Asked if we would still run for supervisor on the Republican — and Independence — party lines if Cantwell gets the nomination from the Democrats, Schneiderman said he would. "I would have no problem running against Larry, but I'd rather have Larry supporting me. That might be unrealistic," he said.
He said he is trying to gather poll data to gauge community support. "I want to be the community's candidate for supervisor," he said.