After last year’s lengthy primary campaign among Democratic candidates for the First District Congressional seat held by Lee Zeldin, voters here are getting to know the drill. This year the action is on the local level, with Town Justice Lisa R. Rana, an incumbent who has won as a Republican, cross-endorsed by the Democrats, fighting for a Democratic ballot line as a proxy for a splinter group in an internecine battle among party insiders. She faces Andrew Strong, the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee’s official choice. Mr. Strong, an attorney who is in-house counsel for OLA of Eastern Long Island, an advocacy group for the area’s Latino community, has made compassion and human rights central to his campaign. But whatever happens on June 25, Ms. Rana will remain on the ticket.
Also up are candidates for the Democratic town trustee race, in which the top nine vote getters will go on to the general election. There are a mind-boggling 12 people, a mix of incumbents and newcomers, in the mix. Amid a criminal investigation into who is responsible for secretly recording conversations in the trustee office, the primary race takes on extra interest. Several trustees, including Jim Grimes and Bill Taylor, come off somewhat poorly in a highly selective distribution of portions of the recordings, but none of it appears to be game changing.
We think primaries are good for local democracy in that they get voters thinking about government well before the general election. At least some of the candidates have been out knocking on doors, meeting people, and asking for their vote — this is the way it should be done. To the extent that these down-ticket races become higher in the minds of residents, this early round of voting is a good thing indeed.