With less than two months until the election, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, has endorsed Steven Tekulsky, who is running on the Democratic and Working Families lines for town justice.
Thiele said in a statement that Tekulsky "is uniquely qualified to be town Justice and will serve the residents of East Hampton Town with distinction. Steven's local experience, years of community service, and involvement in local issues are the perfect mix of qualifications that we need in a judge."
Tekulsky is running against Carl Irace, who has the Republican, Independence and Conservative party lines. Justice Catherine A. Cahill, a Democrat and the senior town justice, is retiring.
"I am very grateful for this show of support from Assemblyman Thiele, an Independent, who is so well respected for his strong and successful advocacy of local causes that benefit the East End," Tekulsky said.
Irace, an attorney in private practice who previously served as a town attorney, said, "I am surprised to hear that a seasoned public servant, like Mr. Thiele, would endorse someone without having spoken to both candidates."
Thiele said that he has met Irace and had spoken to him briefly, but feels Tekulsky, whom he has known for some time, would do a good job as a justice.
Asked about crossing party lines, Thiele — who serves as the chairman of the Southampton Town Independence Party — said, "Independence means independence."
Tekulsky has been an attorney for 35 years, and ran a close race against incumbent Town Justice Lisa R. Rana in 2007. Irace was an assistant district attorney in the narcotics bureau of the Bronx County district attorney's office from 2001 to 2010, before joining the Town of East Hampton.
Pat Mansir, the vice chairwoman of the East Hampton Independence Party, said her party had chosen Irace as its candidate for justice because, "We felt that he possessed the temperment, education, energy, new ideas and experience needed to best be out next Judge."