Democrats Will Have 4-1 Majority on Town Board

Victory for Fred Overton and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez
Larry Cantwell, center, will become East Hampton Town supervisor in January, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez will join the town board, and Steven Tekulsky will take the bench as a town justice. Morgan McGivern

Fred Overton may be retiring as town clerk, but he won’t be leaving Town Hall any time soon after coming out on the top in a four-way race for East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday.

Joining Mr. Overton, a Republican with Independence and Conservative Party backing, in victory was a Democratic newcomer, Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, while Larry Cantwell, the Democrat who ran unopposed, cruised to victory as town supervisor.

Results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections were unofficial and did not include absentee ballots, which Democrats predicted would give Ms. Burke-Gonzalez an edge over Mr. Overton, but would not change the outcome of the race.

The board of elections sent out 1,104 absentee ballots. To be counted, those ballots must have been postmarked by Monday. As of yesterday, the board of elections had received back 865 of those ballots.

Mr. Overton’s election was one of the few bright spots for Republicans, who, other than the trustee races, saw their candidates defeated to their Democratic opponents in all other contested races.

“I appreciate all the support I’ve had from the community over the years,” Mr. Overton said yesterday. He said he gone to work in the morning and was spending the afternoon picking up campaign signs. “The people know me and feel comfortable that I’ll be their eyes and ears. I look forward to working with the new administration.”

“I’m elated, I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get to work,” said Ms. Burke- Gonzalez, who like Mr. Overton spent much of her day collecting lawn signs. “Fortunately, the hard work paid off and I get an opportunity to serve my community.”

Ms. Burke-Gonzalez said she was overwhelmed by the flood of good wishes coming from voters in the days leading up to the election. “I’m really feeling the love today from the community,” she said.

Mr. Cantwell had not returned calls as of press time.

Mr. Overton received 3,216 votes according to unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, in her first run for townwide office, trailed by only 91 votes, receiving a total of 3,125 votes. Former Democratic Councilman Job Potter, who, like Ms. Burke-Gonzalez also received Working Families Party backing, fell short in his bid to return to Town Hall, receiving 2,764 votes. The only incumbent in the race, the Republican Dominick Stanzione, who also received Independence and Conservative backing, came in a distant fourth place, receiving only 2,293 votes.

“Life goes on. I wish Fred Overton and Kathee Gonzalez all the best. Congratulations,” said Mr. Stanzione yesterday.

“I remain proud of my service to the town. It was sincerely given, and I hope the weight of my work might relieve the burden of those who follow.” “This is what makes politics interesting,” said Mr. Potter, who said he had received positive feedback about his prospects in the election. “You just never know what is going to happen.”

“Fred was almost guaranteed to win in the end, and Kathee worked very hard and ran a great campaign,” he added. “I have no regrets at all, and I wish everyone the best on the new town board.” Mr. Cantwell, who also had Independence and Working Families backing, was named on nearly 80 percent of the 6,034 ballots cast, receiving 4,802 votes.

There were 87 write-in votes, although the breakdown for them was not available.

In one of the most hotly contested races of the year, that of town justice, which pitted two East Hampton attorneys against one another, Steven Tekulsky, with Democratic and Working Families backing, rolled to an easy victory over Carl Irace, who had run a long and sustained campaign with Republican, Independence, and Conservative Party backing. Mr. Tekulsky received 3,487 votes, or 59.6 percent of the total, while Mr. Irace received 2,367 votes, or 40.4 percent.

“Obviously, I wanted to win, and it was nice to win by a lot,” said Mr. Tekulsky.

Mr. Irace, he said, had “set the tone” to the campaign. “Because he was not as widely known, he was a very aggressive campaigner, he had to get his name out there, so he was making some noise.” Mr. Tekulsky said he was confident, though, with an expected heavy Democratic turnout, that he would carry the day.

In another hotly contested race, the incumbent assessor Eugene De- Pasquale, a Democrat with Working Families support, overcame a challenge by the Republican Joe Bloecker, whose name was also on the Independence and Conservative lines. Mr. DePasquale received 3,209 votes, or 56.7 percent of the total, to Mr. Bloecker’s 2,449 votes, or 43.3 percent.

Carole Brennan, the assistant town clerk, who was cross-endorsed by all parties and ran unopposed to take Mr. Overton’s post, received 5,281 votes.

Steve Lynch, the incumbent highway superintendent, who was endorsed by all parties, received 5,345 votes to win another two-year term.

County Legislator Jay Schneiderman won the right to serve his sixth and final term, trouncing outgoing Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi by a 60.3- to-39.7-percent margin. Mr. Schneiderman, who ran on the Democratic, Independence, and Working Families lines, received 11,329 votes. Mr. Nuzzi, running on the Republican and Conservative lines, received 7,444 votes.

With many races uncontested Tuesday, turnout at the polls in East Hampton was particularly low. Only 6,034 ballots were cast of a possible 16,116, but that number does not include absentee ballots, which will not be opened and counted until next week.
 


Comments

Is it a "particularly low" turn out for an East Hampton municipal election? This looks about normal for an odd year. 6,034 + the uncounted absentee ballots (865-1,104) will be a total of 6,865 - 7,138 votes. The last municipal election, 2011, had a total of 6,791 votes, including absentees. That's lower. 2009 saw 7,118 votes - which this race could also see once the absentee ballots are counted. 2007 saw 6,528 votes cast, which this year will surpass. It's interesting that an uncontested race did not, in fact, suppress the vote as expected.
i am having McGintee flashbacks. did the voters forget how badly we have suffered under democratic administrations? to hell in a hand-basket