The final absentee ballots have been counted and the end result is to be “more of the same” in the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton. With the Republicans still in control of both town boards with 3-2 pluralities, and with both town supervisors re-elected, there will be no new faces at the very top of either town.
There is no doubt that both towns are in better financial shape then they were two years ago when both Southampton and East Hampton were looking at red ink and charges of mismanagement. The results were noticed by the voters. What this last election revealed, however, is how small the margin to rule in both towns really is, with Incumbent Supervisor Bill Wilkinson holding on to power in East Hampton by only 15 votes on 6,791 votes cast.
The official results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections are Wilkinson receiving 3,403 votes and Democratic Party candidate Zachary Cohen receiving 3,388 votes. In Southampton Town, the race that could have tipped the balance of power to the Democrats, resulted in a Republican win, with newcomer Christine Scalera defeating Democratic newcomer Bradley Bender for a council seat by only 92 votes.
In both towns there were some easy victories with incumbent Southampton Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst winning with 63.63% of the vote. But the story in that race may be that former Republican Supervisor Linda Kabot receiving an official 36.37% of the vote as a write-in candidate, with 3,849 voters actually writing in her name! The other Town Board seat in Southampton went to incumbent Bridget Fleming, who tallied the most votes for that office (6,263).
In East Hampton, now that the dust has settled and Supervisor Wilkinson remains in charge, appointed Town Budget Officer Len Bernard said, “It’s time to continue the job the Supervisor started.” However, the strong showing of both Town Board winners, Democrat Peter Van Scoyoc and Democrat Sylvia Overby (both receiving almost 1,000 votes more than any four of the others running for the East Hampton Town Board), rings a bell that the EH Democratic Party is back. No doubt Republican incumbents Theresa K. Quigley and Dominick J. Stanzione took notice. The tidal wave that swept them into office two years ago is gone.
Time will tell if the Republican Board will change their management style now that it is obvious they no longer have a huge mandate, and that the town was not happy with all aspects of Republican rule these last two years.
In the East Hampton race for Superintendent of the Highways, Republican winner Stephen Lynch received 3,915 votes to incumbent Democrat Scott King 2,854. This went in opposition to the election night trend of surging Democratic strength, and had to do, perhaps, with perceived management styles. It seems King’s long-dedicated service to the town of East Hampton has come to an end.