Southold Democrats look to create ‘Save Medicare’ line

There’s a fight on over Medicare, but for once Washington has nothing to do with it.

Looking to secure a second ballot line for its candidates in this year’s town elections, Southold’s Democratic Party has filed petitions with the county Board of Elections to create a “Save Medicare” line. It’s an often-used strategy designed to give voters reluctant to support candidates on a particular party line another option.

It’s also an effort to offset the GOP’s command of three lines, Republican, Conservative and Independence Party. The only non-Republican with Independence Party support is Democratic supervisor candidate Bob Meguin. Democratic town justice candidate Brian Hughes is challenging incumbent GOP Justice Rudolph Bruer in next Tuesday’s Conservative primary.

But the line won’t be added to the ballot until the board of elections rules on objections filed by a group of Southold Republicans challenging the petitions filed by the Democrats to secure the “Save Medicare” line.

Needing signatures from about 475 registered voters, the Democrats submitted over 600, said party chairman Art Tillman.

Conceding there’s always the chance some signatures might not pass scrutiny, the party “did the best we could,” Mr. Tillman said.

“The Republicans don’t want to allow voters to have a choice to voice their protest on proposed Republican cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

Denis Noncarrow, town GOP chairman, accused the Democrats of pursuing a dishonest political ploy.

“If you want another line, fine, but don’t scam the people into believing you’re going to do something about Medicare,” he said. “Scaring senior citizens into thinking we’re against Medicare is a lie. And what does a town councilman have to do with Medicare?”

Mr. Noncarrow would not commit to seeking court intervention if the elections board validates the “Save Medicare” line.

“Is it worth it? I don’t know,” he said. “It gets a little stupid after awhile.”

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