Ahearn Declares Victory in State Senate Primary

Crime Victims Center Executive Director Laura Ahearn has declared victory in the June 23 Democratic primary to run for the New York State Senate seat vacated by longtime Republican State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.

Ms. Ahearn struck a centrist tone in the five-way primary in which several progressive candidates had pushed for Medicare for All and police reform.

State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo at a press conference this spring.
State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo is the Republican nominee

North Fork State Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo is the Republican pick to run for the seat this fall.

“It is with great humility and excitement that I declare victory in the Democratic Primary in New York State Senate District 1,” said Ms. Ahearn in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “After a full canvass of all the ballots in this race, it’s become abundantly clear that voters have chosen me as their nominee to represent the Democratic Party in the General Election.

Ms. Ahearn’s campaign reported that she had taken 8,419 votes, followed by civil rights attorney Valerie Cartright with 6,562; Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni, a retired social studies teacher, with 5,818; 19-year-old Port Jefferson progressive Skyler Johnson with 2,827 and Nora Higgins, an ICU nurse, with 952.

On election night June 23, Ms. Ahearn was in the lead over Ms. Cartright by 240 votes.

As counting of more than 18,000 absentee ballots began on Monday, Ms. Ahearn announced that her election night lead over Ms. Cartright had grown to more than 1,000 votes.

In total, 7,605 voters cast in-person ballots in the State Senate race.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections had not released official final returns as of Wednesday afternoon.

“I would like to thank my voters for their support, my campaign staff, interns and volunteers for their dedication and commitment, and the other participants in this race for their hard work and determination to advance our shared values,” said Ms. Ahearn in her victory declaration. “I look forward to the election in November, where everyone involved in this primary effort can work together and send a forward thinking, pro-choice woman to represent this seat in Albany for the first time in its history. I look forward to a general election focused on restarting our economy, fighting for children and families and protecting our environment.”

Laura Jens-Smith

Former Democratic Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, who had a wide lead over her primary opponent, ViacomCBS Operations Coordinator William Schleisner, on election night, also declared victory on Wednesday.

Ms. Jens-Smith took home 77.86 percent of in-person votes while Mr. Schleisner took home 21.97.  The Board of Elections had not provided final tallies as of Wednesday evening.

“We are deeply humbled by the overwhelming support,” said Ms. Jens-Smith on Wednesday. I am running for the Assembly to ensure that the working people of Long Island get their fair share from Albany. I’m running to bring clean, honest, hard-working representation back to the people. “

She will go on to face Republican Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio in November.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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