Fleming Wins Big in State Senate Primary

Southampton Town councilwoman will go on to challenge incumbent New York State Sen. Kenneth LaValle.

Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming defeated Rocky Point lawyer , gathering close to 80 percent of votes, in a Democratic primary race Thursday for New York State's First Senate District, Board of Election results show.

Preliminary results show Fleming with 2,031 votes to Maertz's 531, with all election districts reporting.

Fleming will go on to face state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, who has held the seat since 1976. 

Addressing her campaign staff and supporters at The Waters Edge in East Moriches, Fleming said on Thursday that Maertz had conceded the race, and credited a grassroots campaign coupled with her experience in public office — and beforehand — as the keys to the wide margin of victory.

"I congratulated her on the good work she's done in the community and hope to continue to work with her on common goals," Fleming said.

Pointing to the results, she said, "I was twice elected as the only Democrat on the Southampton Town Board. I think people see me as having been effective in that role ... and as a public official I have proven I can win elections as a Democrat in this district."

Maertz, in her concession speech at Ruby Tuesday's in Miller Place, pointed to a funding gap between the two candidates, which accounted for at least part of the gap in votes.

According to an 11-day pre-primary campaign finance disclosure, Maertz held $3,588 in the bank. Fleming's campaign had $57,554.

"It didn’t work out this time," she said. "I respect the fact that money does play a big role in politics and in this race, this primary with exceptionally low turnout, this was about who had the money to get the most people out of their doors and that’s what happened. It was the democratic process at play here tonight and I respect that process."

Maertz — who  — said she was unsure if she would re-enter politics in the future.

"This doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop working for the community. I ran to serve this district. Just because I’m not going to do it as a State Senator doesn’t mean I’m not going to serve this district. I’m going to continue to volunteer my time and efforts to help better this district."

LaValle released the following statement on Friday morning: "No matter who the opponent, I have always run on my record. I am proud of my exceptionally strong record of economic development, job creation, and real property tax relief and proud of the support I have received in the form of endorsements thus far."

The state Senator touted endorsements from the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum; the Sierra Club; Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, New York State Unified Teachers, and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of New York.

Fleming already has the endorsement of the Working Families Party. She first entered politics during a Southampton Town Board race in 2009. Although she lost that bid, four months later she was elected to the board in a special election. She was then . She also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

She is a matrimonial attorney and a graduate of Hunter College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Fleming had a career as an assistant district attorney, working in the sex crimes prosecution unit and later as chief of the welfare fraud unit under New York District Attorney Robert Morganthau. She served as an ADA in New York from 1991 to 2000.

Maertz lost to LaValle in 2010 by a 2-1 ratio after she stepped into the race late in the game to replace now-Deputy County Executive Regina Calcaterra, who was kicked off the ballot due to a residency qualification challenge.

who graduated from St. John’s University, Touro Law School, and received her MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. Maertz has a history serving on local civic and youth council boards, and has been recognized by the Town of Brookhaven for her volunteer efforts with local youth.


Preliminary Voting Results* Candidate Votes Percentage Bridget Fleming 2,031 79.1% Jennifer Maertz 531 20.7% write-ins 6 0.2%

* Results are not final until certified by the Board of Elections. Absentee and provisional ballots may still need to be counted.

Rich Arleo contributed to this report.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that there are 537 election districts in the First State Senate District. That is the number of E.D.'s for the entire county.

knowitall September 14, 2012 at 02:37 AM
T.J. Clemente September 14, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Congradulations to Ms Fleming who defeated my friend Jennifer Maertz tonight. As for the November election, i would love to hear Fred Thiele, who has the endorsement of the Southampton Democratic Party for NY State Assembly, opinion on how Ms. Fleming will do against Ken LaValle. Will he campaign for her, help her raise money, and endorse her. I am curious because Fred seems to have one of the best political minds on east end politics.
highhatsize September 14, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Congratulations to Ms. Fleming and here's wishing her the best of luck in the upcoming senatorial election. Additionally, one hopes that Ms. Maertz's solid performance in the debates will lead the Democratic leadership to select her for future candidacy. She deserves their attention.
HEMI-ITIS September 14, 2012 at 03:52 AM
I would like to hear her stand on EPCAL and a motorsports complex.The politition that back that will earn thousands of vote on that issue alone!!
Nanci e. LaGarenne September 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Congratulations, Bridget! Take it all the way. We need the other half of humanity represented. It is time.
Jaguar-Guy September 14, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Boy hat, you sure picked that winner !! Come on, let's bet a couple bucks - you and your 6%.
Justin Time September 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Doesnt matter who wins, they tell us what we want to hear before the vote, then do what they want, once in office. Watch our taxes go up with wonderful new programs.
Living in Brookhaven September 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I agree. Someone needs to step up and grab the reigns to guide something to make money on the Island. The only thing that gets built on this island for recreation are soccer fields and golf courses.....
Nanci e. LaGarenne September 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM
congratulations, Bridget! Take it all the way. About time we, the other half of humanity, are represented. Time for a change all the way up.
Bye Bye Romney September 14, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"UGH!" The sound of Romney November 4th.
Veterans Against Altschuler September 14, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Fleming has more credibility than Altschuler. But La Valle has a big war chest and "friend" who will be instructed to "swat" Ms. Fleming. Regrettably, they work in Southampton Town Hall and sit at her dais.
George Lynch September 14, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Bridget Fleming will be a spirited candidate in the general election. This was a hard-fought but healthy contest, the kind of primary that strengthens a party rather than dividing it. Here's a sincere nod to Jennifer Maertz as a vigorous competitor, and a warm welcome to her and her friends to join in the challenge of unseating Ken LaValle. It's depressing to have such lower voter participation, but it's probably more realistic to hope for increased turnout in general elections than in esoteric primaries such as this. At the same time, it's heartening, when getting Democrats to run for office has sometimes been difficult, to have two Dems waging a full-scale campaign to win the party's nomination. Maybe it's turning around. Ms. Maertz attributed part of the result to a substantial difference in funding. She's right that money played a part, and we all agree that money plays too large a part in our elections. That's the way it is until we change it. One way to help change it is to work with others for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that took the limits off, and put the wraps on, the money game. Join us at the Southampton Town Board meeting on September 25 at 6 PM when we all speak urging the Board to support this amendment.
Justin Time September 14, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Altschuler will win but what might be a setback, he is too honest!
knowitall September 15, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Ms. Fleming is now on her own. She was courted by the State Democrat Party who blew smoke up her proverbial backside, inflated her ego and will now be abandoned and left to fend for herself. A sacrifice.
knowitall September 15, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Getting a change to the constitution will never happen. Keep dreaming. As for Ms. Maertz running a spirited campaign. Huh? What Planet are you from. She announced when? in February? and did nothing .... silence. Ms. Fleming popped her head up in late may and killed her. Why? ms maertz had not laid any groundwork.
knowitall September 15, 2012 at 10:30 PM
She's already lying on her Facebook page claiming 80% of district supports her. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=172485002887984&l=98124e84b9 This Democrat does fuzzy math. The real number is about 1% of the electorate supported you. The other 99% did not even vote yet. You see Bridget, you're the 1 %!!
Justin Time September 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM
As Bill said "arithmatic"
knowitall September 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer said Thursday that he's told Senate Democratic leaders "they didn't demonstrate in the past they knew how to lead." An unusual statement for a chairman of the same party? "It's nothing I've done," Schaffer noted. "The last time they were in charge, it was a disaster."


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