By Kathryn G. Menu
Democrats in East Hampton swept town board and supervisor races Tuesday night, with voters also giving Democrats a majority on the town Trustees.
Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc easily defeated Republican Manny Vilar in the race for town supervisor, receiving 61.3 percent, or 3,652, of the 5,958 votes cast. Mr. Vilar received 2,301 votes, or 38.6 percent. Mr. Van Scoyoc will replace Larry Cantwell, a Democrat, who chose not to seek re-election.
“This is a great outcome, but we have a lot of work to do, and the work will start with continuing the efforts we have already undertaken which is making sure our drinking water is clean, making sure our bays, waters and creeks are productive and clean,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc, speaking to supporters at Rowdy Hall in East Hampton after results were announced by the Suffolk County Board of Elections. “We are going to honor our history, our traditions and our diversity. We are going to expand opportunities for people in this town the best we can.”
“I wish the current town board and elected town board the very best,” said Mr. Vilar from Cittanuova, just up the street in East Hampton after the last district reported its results. “Whatever I can do to help them at any step of the way, my services are always available however I can help them. I will always be a resource and available to our town government and elected officials in whatever capacity I can. I am a humble servant and I am honored to serve.”
Democrats also swept the town board race, with incumbent Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, the top vote getter, capturing 34 percent of the vote in the four-way race for two seats. Her running mate, attorney Jeffrey Bragman, received 27 percent of the votes cast, to win his first term on the town board. Republicans Paul Giardina and Gerard “Jerry” Larsen captured 19.4 and 18.9-percent of the vote, respectively.
“I am happy this race basically remained positive, and I wanted to present myself as someone who could listen and was willing to work with people,” said Mr. Bragman. “I am happy that message reached voters.”
“I am the liaison to the human side of government — human services — and we have a great department, and have worked hard to increase services for our seniors and out kids, for our hardworking families,” said Ms. Burke-Gonzalez. “And I think people have really connected with that because it is a challenge to live here, it is expensive to live here, and you need government services whether that is supporting quality childcare, after-school care or offering transportation services for our seniors and our veterans.”
“I wish the winners luck,” said Mr. Giardina. “They’ve got to solve a lot of problems. We tried the best we could.”
“I think we’re going to build our party,” said Mr. Larsen. “I think we’re going to come back in two years and hopefully be successful. We’re much better on the issues. We’ve pointed out so many problems the town is having that they’re not addressing. I’m just disappointed that the local people did not come out to take back their town.”
With Mr. Van Scoyoc taking the supervisor’s seat this January, his remaining two-year term on the town board will likely be filled by an appointment until a special election next November. Discussions about that appointment will begin at the board’s re-organizational meeting in January.
Republicans also struggled to capture town Trustee seats, with just two candidates — incumbent Jim Grimes and newcomer Susan Vorpahl — winning election. Longtime Trustee Diane McNally narrowly missed re-election after 27 years on that body. Democrats Francis Bock, Richard Drew, Dell Cullum, John Aldred, Bill Taylor, Brian Byrnes and Susan McGraw Keber will serve on that board if the unofficial results are certified.
In other contested races, incumbent town assessor and Democrat Eugene C. De Pasquale III was easily elected to another term over Republican challenger Tina S. Silverman, taking 68.9 percent of the vote in that race.
In other election news in Suffolk County, incumbent Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming easily defeated her Republican challenger, Heather Collins, receiving 63.9 percent of the vote to Ms. Collins’ 36 percent.
With reporting by Christine Sampson