Former Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant, the Democratic Party nominee in this year’s contest for Town of Brookhaven supervisor, has suspended her campaign.
Lillian Clayman, a resident of Port Jefferson and adjunct professor of labor and industrial relations at SUNY Old Westbury, will now lead the Democratic ticket.
Garant recently experienced “an unforeseen health issue,” prompting her to exit the race, according to a statement from the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee.
“This was not an easy decision,” Garant said. “Public service has been the honor of a lifetime, and my love for Port Jefferson and Brookhaven knows no bounds.” But, she added, “Right now, I need to put my health and my family first.”
Incumbent town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) announced his candidacy for Suffolk County executive in February, triggering an open contest to fill his seat. Garant and Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville) had secured their respective party’s nominations that same month.
Panico responded to news of Garant’s departure. “I wish Margot the very best for a speedy and full recovery,” he said in a text to TBR News Media.
Anthony Portesy, chair of the town Democratic committee, confirmed Clayman, former BTDC chair from January 2016 to August 2020 and three-time mayor of Hamden, Connecticut, from 1991-97, has stepped forward to replace Garant as the party’s nominee.
“I wish my dear friend Margot Garant a speedy recovery,” Clayman said. “I am delighted to join a slate of Democratic candidates who are committed to making Brookhaven a forward-looking, honestly governed community.”
In a message published on social media, Portesy offered consolation to Garant, maintaining an optimistic tenor as the race continues.
“I want to take the time to thank my dear friend Margot Garant for stepping up to run this race, and I wish her a rapid recovery,” the committee chair said. “The battle marches on, but you remain in our hearts, our thoughts and our minds as we carry your vision forward into November.”
Garant served as mayor of Port Jefferson from 2009-23. She announced her plans to retire from the village government earlier this year and was succeeded by trustee Lauren Sheprow on July 3.