Freshman Congressman Lee Zeldin could be in for a heated battle next year. Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst is seeking the Democratic nod to challenge New York’s First District representative in 2016. Throne-Holst has decided not to seek election to a fourth term as town supervisor and instead will focus on unseating Rep. Lee Zeldin, she said in an interview this morning.
Throne-Holst, a member of the Independence Party, said she would register as a Democrat to mount the challenge.
“Securing Long Island’s future as a place that is economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable has been the driving force behind my commitment to public service and one that I aim to bring to Washington,” she said.
“As a town supervisor for more than five years, my administration has achieved major financial reforms without increasing taxes, implemented progressive environmental initiatives to accelerate land preservation, and secured investments in advanced technologies and the redevelopment of blighted areas to spur job creation,” Throne-Holst said.
“Creative problem-solving and bipartisan consensus-building have been the keys to my success in this role and is the brand of leadership needed in Congress to achieve the best results for Long Island and our nation,” she said.
The Sag Harbor resident ousted incumbent Republican supervisor Linda Kabot in 2009. Previously, she served on the Southampton Town Board. Finishing up the last year of her third, two-year term, she decided the time was right.
Zeldin defeated six-term incumbent Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) by a 10-point margin in November, 55 to 45 percent.
Zeldin spokesperson Jennifer DiSiena said the freshman congressman “has hit the ground running.”
“Immediately upon taking office, Congressman Zeldin quickly became one of the most outspoken members of Congress to strengthen America’s foreign policy and improve the quality of education in our schools.”
She added that Zeldin had secured three “important committee assignments”: foreign affairs, veterans affairs and transportation and infrastructure. He has been named vice chairman of the aviation subcommittee.
“From passing just the second federal budget since 2007 to fighting for First Congressional District veterans, and from advocating for improvements to our nation’s health care to working to improve America’s business climate, Congressman Zeldin has been working tirelessly in Congress since January, all day, every day on important issues facing his constituents. Congressman Zeldin will not be outworked, outclassed or outgunned in pursuing victories for his district.”
Suffolk Democratic Committee chairman Richard Schaffer praised Throne-Holst as an “outstanding elected official.” Her decision not to run for town supervisor reflects that she “realizes how much work goes into a campaign like this,” he said.
Shaffer noted that other candidates are weighing a potential race. Suffolk County planning commission chairman David Calone, of Stony Brook, has already announced a bid for the nomination and Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn of Setauket is also said to be considering a run, he said. “We’ll see how this all plays out over the next few months,” he said.
Throne-Holst’s decision leaves the door open for Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who will have reached the limit on the number of years he can serve at the end of his current term and is mulling a run for Southampton Town supervisor.
“I’m seriously considering it. It’s an interesting option. I plan to make an announcement Friday,” Schneiderman said.
Schneiderman served as East Hampton Town supervisor before his election to the county legislature; the longtime Montauk hotel owner is just finishing up a new home in Southampton.