Wilkinson Snags Independence Line in Supervisor Race

Town Independence Party Chairwoman says she "knew nothing" of state party chair's signing of Wilson Pakula for incumbent Bill Wilkinson.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections confirmed Supervisor Bill Wilkinson's name is on the Independence Party line on Tuesday.

, the East Hampton Democratic candidate for supervisor, has lost the Independence Party line on the 2011 ballot to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, the town party chair said on Monday.

East Hampton Independence Party Chairwoman Elaine Jones said the the local party's endorsement of Cohen was not upheld by the New York State Independence Party after State and Suffolk County Party Chairman Frank MacKay signed a document known as the Wilson Pakula for the Republican nominee.  

Wilkinson had gathered a nominating petition after the local Independence Party's nomination of Cohen.

The Wilson Pakula allows for cross-endorsement of someone from a different party. Cohen is a registered "blank."

MacKay submitted the Wilson Pakula to the Suffolk County Board of Elections on Monday morning, just before the deadline, according to Cohen.

Jones said she was "really angry" that the local party's endorsement was not supported. "I knew nothing about what he did," Jones said of MacKay's decision, which she called "a kidnapping of our party."

MacKay could not be reached as his cellphone mailbox was full.

She said the party put up a good slate of candidates, including William Mott, a registered member of the party, and Marilyn Behan for town council seats, as well as Suffolk County Legis. Jay Schneiderman, I-Montauk.

"That's okay, we're still working for Zach Cohen," she said, adding that the local party will continue to campaign for him. "This can only galvanize us."

Because Cohen is not a registered Independent, he is not entitled to a primary. Jones said, however, if she had found out earlier she had a few options that would force a primary.

Meanwhile, Wilkinson said he hasn't received official word from the Board of Elections that he has the Independence line.

"If I am fortunate enough to have received it, I'm grateful to not only the Independence Party under the leadership of Frank MacKay, but also to the number of Independence Party members who signed my petition," he said.

Wilkinson had the Republican-Conservative-Independence ticket when he was elected two years ago.

Of MacKay's decision, Cohen said, "Basically, he didn't allow the East Hampton Independence Party to be validated."

"I was a little bothered this morning," Cohen said, adding that some of his best matches as a wrestler were against opponents who made illegal moves.

Cohen said he's already filed an appeal of Wilkinson's petition, but said he isn't holding out much hope. He can challenge the 83 signatures on Wilkinson's petition, but since there are almost double the amount necessary, he doesn't think he'll find "37 throw-aways" that will make his petition invalid.

Local Independence Party officials said they were surprised by the move, though it has happened in the recent past when Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming was running the first time. She did not receive the Wilson Pakula and then lost the election.

"Elaine Jones is extremely upset. She is rightfully upset," Schneiderman said.

The local party screens the candidates. "When you put in so much work at a local level, you want to feel like you have some of the power," he said.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., I-Sag Harbor, said, "The Independence Party endorsement is very valuable on the East End," and has determined close local elections. "So on that end, I'd say: Advantage Wilkinson."

todd July 19, 2011 at 12:00 PM
Quid Pro Quo.. somebody is getting something for something. Got to love local politics.
Howard Lebwith July 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Howard I feel badly for Zachary Cohen, but this is a welcome blow to Elaine Jones undemocratic dictatorial rule of the party
MARTIN DREW July 20, 2011 at 12:30 PM
New voter registration drive ... Make YOUR vote count in this years election ; "blanks" unite ; this year YOU make the difference ; vote buddy style ; grab a friend vote twice ; register its simple ; vote for the candidate who best represents YOUR lifestyle ; "equality" is more than a sound bite ; pay attention to the issues ; its our town ; don't let politicians forget that by registering to vote ; Dont allow politics to win the day ... Stand up and vote for YOUR candidate ; who recognizes YOU matter . Don't allow YOUR lifestyle be dictated by politicians who ignore " equality" as a guiding factor in life . Locals MUST vote .. Its ONLY FAIR GAME... play to win .... Two votes at a time .. May the best platform win ...
Elaine Jones July 20, 2011 at 12:41 PM
Come on Howard. Sour grapes. You had your chance at a primary on the Independence Party line and you lost to Len Bernard. I have a feeling that there will be many more primaries in the future for the Independence Party. Independence party members don't need a Wilson Pakula and the party will never be a rubber stamp for any other party. This is just a bump in the road.
Elaine Jones July 20, 2011 at 12:43 PM
The Jonas brothers at oheka castle from Bill Wilkinson who used to work for disney
MARTIN DREW July 20, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Ms. Jones ; is YOUR candidate willing to assimilate a local lifestyle choice INTO the fabric of "our town"; especially as it relates to trail access or a dedicated site being created for local residents who enjoy the great outdoors by riding a motorcycle or ATV .. A issue long overdue to be addressed ; as discrimination in this lifestyle choice continues ; and politicians FAIL to recognize this faction of "our town" ... Where is EQUALITY in this conduct . We are NOTa fabrication ; we ARE citizens who deserve equal rights under the law ... What gives?
trust no one July 20, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Mr. Wilkinson you might have won the line but you haven't won the race yet ! Backroom politics are a sad thing but you have to live with you own decisions ,have you had any sleepless nights? I remember when you first ran for office you practically camped on Elaine Jones doorstep asking for advise and her support. I guess that its true the old saying in the bible watch out for people bearing gifts and theres always a snake in the grass.
MARTIN DREW July 21, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Ms Jones??? Does YOUR candidate SUPPORT citizens lifestyle choices as it relates to trails access ? For O.H.V. Vehicles / one user group dominates public access to a public resource / ie . 300 mile trails system. While our lifestyle choice is banned .. Creation of a dedicated park ? Instead? Or just continue the discrimination ? We want "equality" recognition ; assimilation ; these words on YOUR candidates lips ? His mind? "Equality" Being the new black !! YOU can continue to ignore the topic .. Most want to ... Where does YOUR candidate stand on this issue .. Inquiring minds DESERVE TO KNOW! OUR constituancy is tired of the continued discrimination . Article 78 in the works ... "Equality" demands a solution ; NOT continued avoidance ... What give?
MARTIN DREW July 22, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Pretty slick stuff ... I'm not sure advantage Wilkinson yet; Long Island Sports Committee is having a voter registration drive to register locals who were thrown under the continued discrimination bus by his failure to recognize my citizen constituents who desire a dedicated OHV riding area ... We are tired of the continued sell out of our town resources ; to colluisionary user groups ; while our lifestyle choices get no recognition / acceptance / assimulation ; lawsuit on the horizon .. Its time ... Change is all around us .. "Equality" is more than being able to marry your same sex partner .. Wake up and smell the fight ... Its on !
MARTIN DREW July 22, 2011 at 03:28 AM
P.S. - LISC will make a difference in this years election ; count on it ..... Politicians better wake up ! We are going to fight for our slice of the pie! We live here too ; time for change in how this town will be governed .. Live and let live .. A little ... Discrimination is getting old !!! Article 78 filing / force the issue / its time..


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