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."