The race appears to be set for the vacant Southampton town board seat.
The Republicans have picked William Hughes, a lieutenant in the town police department, to run in a special election on March 9. The town's Democrats were to select Bridget Fleming, a former New York City assistant district attorney.
The race has become critical to Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst because - with three Republicans already on the town board - she has no political ally to second her motions or even bring a topic up for discussion at town board meetings. Throne-Holst is nonaffiliated but ran on the Democratic, Independence and Working Family Party lines.
A key factor in the race is who gets the endorsement of the town's Independence Party. In November, Fleming ran for town board and lost by 478 votes. Her Republican opponents got 751 and 542 votes, respectively, on the Independence Party line.
At their Wednesday night nominating convention in Hampton Bays, Hughes cautioned the GOP committeemen and women, "We don't want the tail wagging the dog." But he said he believes he can get the Independence Party nomination. "I'm confident," he said.
Hughes got more votes for the nomination than his two opponents combined, under a weighed system that reflects the actual GOP turnout in each election district. He said that he has "deep roots" in the community, especially in Noyack and Eastport, areas where Fleming is expected to run strong.