The Grapes of Henry

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Grapes of Henry

Updated 11/26/2007 - 11:06 pm

The East Hampton Star, in reporting that the Repub­lican candidate for Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot had won the recount{sic} by 53 votes, had some interesting com­ments by runner-up, Democrat Jim Henry.

In a November 20th interview, the candidate attributed his narrow loss to a number of factors:

"Mr. Henry said that running as a Democrat in Southampton was a "frustrating experi­ence." Calling the party disorganized, he said what little get-out-the-vote effort the party was able to mount was ineffective, given that its increases in registrations and turnout were matched by the other parties. An effort to register more of those who live in the city and spend weekends out here, of whom five out of six are registered Dem­ocrats, was not successful."

Ignoring for the moment the possibility that the can­di­date at the head of the Town ticket might not have been as broadly appealing as he obviously fancied himself, Henry and his "brain trust" seemed throughout this Fall's election cycle to be running independently of the Southampton Town Democrat organization.

(Of course, the same might be said of his arms-distance running mate Anna Throne-Holst, but this is mostly over-looked be­cause she won and he didn't. So what was the dif­ference there? Ms. Throne-Holst selected and stayed with a winsome campaign photo, and had the presence of mind to not get caught molesting opponent's signs on a prominent GOP leader's front lawn!)

Then there was this little bit of dazzling math and baffling footwork:

"'It turns out that after this prolonged, unpre­ce­dent­ed recount, we have lost by a very small margin — less than one out of 250 of those who actually voted,' Mr. Henry said. He added that some 1,200 voter registrations in the town had been dropped from the Suffolk County Board of Elections rolls since 2005, which was of concern to him, especially since the year-round population appears to be increasing."

While it's apparent throughout the article that The Star's Jennifer Landes wasn't quite up to the task of staying with the candidate's thought processes much less reporting them accurately, she captures enough of the man to reveal a strain of megalomania.

The oddest pronouncement of them all, how­ever, was the bizarre assertion:

"He might have had a better chance if voters' second choices were used in the recount, as is done in Aspen, Colo., (Henry) said. 'There were 86 votes for Alex Gregor in Sag Harbor that under a recall would have gone to me.'"

At risk of sounding like the Caveman character (in the Geico TV commercials, not the quickly canceled ABC series), "WHA-AT?!?"

While the immediate reaction is to suggest that Mr. Henry had better run in Colorado next time he hears a call to public service, I needed some clarification of this recondite affect of Aspen... so I called upon his "counting room" attorney, George Guldi, always quick with a quip or a quote... or both:

"The Star's reporter got part of that wrong because she didn't understand what he was talking about. But that's all right, because Jim Henry didn't know what he was talking about either!"

(And George actually likes Jim.)

So, just how in concert with the rest of the South­amp­ton Town Democratic Party Mr. Henry ran this campaign might be a matter of some debate, what is clear is that his noctur­nal excursion on Ann LaWall's lawn was a staggering blow to his chances, and while he stayed in the fight longer and more aggres­sively than any other Supervisor Candidate the Dems have run since the mid-'90s, his early themes were ef­fective, but when incumbent Republican Supervisor-running-on-the-Con­servative-line Patrick "Skip" Heaney handed Mr. Henry the sharpened "Reduced Tax Rates" axe and placed his head on "the lowest tax rate in Suffolk County" chopping block, the man on Row A went off to cut firewood.

And then there was this heretofore unreported factor. According to a source close to the Town elections this year, and the Democratic "endgame:"

"Democratic women fled from Jim Henry and crossed over to Linda Kabot. He simply, and pur­posefully, drove a large number of females out of his campaign to keep his friend Dennis Suskind happy. Sooner or later it'll come to him that it wasn't to his advantage!"

This would seem to be borne out by the fact that both his running mates for the Town Board, Ms Throne-Holst and Sandra Dunn, significant out-polled Mr. Henry. And with Mrs. Kabot cleverly riding the "Woman Scorned" petticoats of her own Primary and General Election running mate, Nancy Graboski, he's lucky his margin of defeat was only 53 votes!

His sour grapes in last week's East Hampton Star is a signal that we probably won't have Jim Henry to kick around again.

Addenda: Mr. Henry clarified his Colorado dreamin' in a letter to End End Independent this week... he is, in a word, insufferable.

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