Philip J. Cardinale, a Democrat, is the incumbent candidate for...

Philip J. Cardinale, a Democrat, is the incumbent candidate for Riverhead Town supervisor. (July 2, 2009) Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

In the five towns on the East End of Long Island, it's the races for supervisor that are drawing attention, including two town contests where candidates are looking to get their old jobs back.

In Riverhead, Philip J. Cardinale, who was supervisor for six years and town councilman for four, is running as the Democratic candidate against sitting supervisor Sean M. Walter, a Republican who is finishing his first term. Cardinale said he lost narrowly to Walter in 2009.

Cardinale, 62, an attorney, said the town has been going in the wrong direction since Walter took over. He cited as an example the lack of development at the town-owned Enterprise Park at Calverton. He also maintains that the heavy work for the ongoing revitalization of the downtown area -- including the Culinary Arts building and the Riverhead Aquarium -- was done during his tenure. Cardinale said the focus now needs to be on the south side of Main Street in the west part of downtown, where there are empty stores.

Walter disagrees with Cardinale's assessment, especially regarding Cardinale's role in downtown development. "He had nothing to do with the revitalization," Walter said, adding that all the new downtown businesses opened over the past 18 months, during his watch.

In Southampton, current supervisor and Independence Party candidate Anna Throne-Holst, who also is running on the Democratic and Working Families lines, is officially unopposed since the town's Republican Party failed to put up an opponent. But this month, previous town supervisor Linda Kabot jumped into the race as a write-in candidate. She does not have Republican backing, but makes herself known at town board meetings by approaching the podium during open sessions and introducing herself as a candidate.

Kabot, a registered Republican, lost her re-election bid in November 2009 to Throne-Holst by a margin of 57 percent to 42 percent. Two months before the election, Kabot was arrested in Westhampton Beach on a driving while intoxicated charge; she was acquitted in February 2011 after a jury trial. She maintains that it was a political arrest and has filed a notice of claim against Westhampton Beach Police, leaving her options open to file a lawsuit.

In Shelter Island, Long Island's smallest town with a year-round population of 2,300, three candidates are battling for the top spot.

Supervisor James Dougherty, 74, who has been in the job since 2008, is running on the Democratic, Working Families and Independence lines against Robert J. DeStefano, 72, a Republican, and Glenn W. Waddington, 62, on the Conservative and local Island Unity lines.

In East Hampton, incumbent supervisor Republican William "Bill" Wilkinson, 62, who inherited a $27 million deficit when he came into office in 2009, is up against Zachary Cohen, 62, a Democratic candidate also on the Working Families line.

In Southold, six-year supervisor Scott Russell, 47, a Republican who is also on the Conservative line, is being challenged by Robert Meguin. Meguin, a Democrat, is also on the Independence, Working Families and newly-minted Save Medicare lines.

In addition to the supervisor races, two town council seats are up for grabs in every East End town.

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