Primary: 29-Vote Lead

Calone, Throne-Holst await the absentee count
David Calone and Anna Throne-Holst

A costly contest to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination to represent New York’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives remained too close to call after votes were counted in Tuesday’s primary election. The race will come down to absentee ballots; 1,667 were distributed and are to be counted next week.

With 100 percent of machine votes counted shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Anna Throne-Holst, a former Southampton Town supervisor, maintained a lead of just 29 votes over David Calone, a businessman, former federal prosecutor, and former chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission. Ms. Throne-Holst had 5,446 votes to Mr. Calone’s 5,417. The winner will face Lee Zeldin, a first-term Republican, in the Nov. 8 election.

In a statement issued shortly before midnight, Ms. Throne-Holst said, “We are waiting for all votes to be counted, but are proud to have a lead at the end of election night. We are confident going forward that victory will be ours now and in November.”

Mr. Calone’s campaign released a statement yesterday in which he called the 29-vote margin “a victory of the volunteer grassroots.” He took aim at “Wall Street fund-raisers” for Ms. Throne-Holst, adding that “we did not have $720,000 of SuperPAC funding poured in for us in the last three weeks, but here we are in a virtual tie.”

Despite some $3 million spent on the primary campaign, turnout at the polls was around 9 percent of the district’s 137,695 registered Democrats.

The November election for the First District seat is expected to be close. The Rothenberg and Gonzalez Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter covering political campaigns, calls the race a “tossup/tilt Republican.” The district includes East Hampton, Southampton, Shelter Island, Southold, Riverhead, and Brookhaven Towns, and most of Smithtown.

Mr. Calone has called Mr. Zeldin, the incumbent, “a proud defender of Donald Trump,” the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for president, “who voted to defund Planned Parenthood and voted against prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns.” On Tuesday, he continued, “we proved the power a strong volunteer grassroots organization can have against big money, and this is exactly what Democrats will need this November to defeat Lee Zeldin.”

Should Ms. Throne-Holst prevail in the primary and win in November, she would be the first woman to represent the First District, in a year in which Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, would also be a first. Ms. Throne-Holst told The Star earlier this month that she hoped Ms. Clinton’s coattails would be long enough to carry her to victory. “There’s some synergy there,” she said. “I think we have an excellent chance of winning this in November.”

Voting machines must be returned to the county’s Board of Elections and inspected, along with any ballots gathered but not registered at polling stations, an assistant to the board’s commissioner said yesterday. A count of absentee ballots will follow.