Challenger’s wife signed incumbent mayor’s petition

It has been said that politics makes strange bedfellows. A review of the nominating petitions submitted by Greenport mayoral candidates David Nyce and Josh Horton to secure spots on the March 15 village ballot reveal several interesting facts.

Yvonne Lieblein, Mr. Horton’s wife, signed Mr. Nyce’s petition on Jan. 10, almost a month before she signed her husband’s petition Feb. 7. Of course, at the time, she, like other villagers, had no idea Mr. Horton would enter the race. It was a last-minute decision Mr. Horton made just days before the deadline. Petitions had to filed with the village clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo by the end of the business day on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

But because voters aren’t allowed to sign petitions for competing candidates, her first signature — the one on Mr. Nyce’s petition — is the one that would be validated were either petition to be challenged.

That’s not expected to happen, because both candidates submitted more than the 50 signatures required to claim a ballot spot.
There were other cases of residents signing both petitions and, again, the signature with the earlier date would prevail. In all cases, that would be Mr. Nyce, the incumbent.

“Since Josh hadn’t declared his interest in entering the mayoral race last month, I would have signed Dave’s on the 10th,” Ms. Lieblein said, explaining she didn’t actually recall having signed the mayor’s petition.

Interesting, too, is who else signed the two candidates’ petitions. Trustee Michael Osinski, who opted not to seek re-election, is backing Mr. Horton, having locked horns with the mayor over many issues in the past two years. Former mayoral candidate Ed Swensen and his wife, Victoria, also signed Mr. Horton’s petition, despite the fact that Ms. Swensen was named to the Planning Board by Mr. Nyce, a position she resigned in November 2010.

Trustees George Hubbard and Mary Bess Phillips signed Mr. Nyce’s petition. Mr. Hubbard is also on the ballot this year, seeking a second term as a trustee.

Maureen and Meghan Mills, wife and daughter, respectively, of former trustee Jamie Mills, signed Mr. Nyce’s petition even though Mr. Mills opposed Mr. Nyce for the mayoralty four years ago. Meghan Mills was recently appointed by Mr. Nyce to the Historic Preservation Commission.

Two frequent board critics, Bill Swiskey and John Saladino, split their allegiances. Mr. Swiskey went with Mr. Horton while Mr. Saladino signed Mr. Nyce’s petition.

Former trustee Ben Burns is also in Mr. Nyce’s column. And, perhaps not surprising, so are Nyce appointees Lara McNeil, chairwoman of the Planning Board and a longtime personal friend of the mayor’s; Doug Moore, ZBA chairman; David Murray, Historic Preservation Commission chairman and a candidate for village trustee; and Denise Rathbun, appointed last October to the ZBA.

Mr. Horton has the backing of Jack Reardon, a Nyce appointee to the Planning Board.

Another thing that has been said about politicians is they often flip-flop on issues. So, too, could their backers between now and time they cast their ballots. No one, after all, expects Ms. Lieblein to vote for Mr. Nyce.

Confirming that, she said Tuesday, “Needless to say, I think Josh will make a great mayor!”

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