Jens-Smith Takes Riverhead, Gerth Upsets on Shelter Island, Van Scoyoc Takes East Hampton

Riverhead supervisor-elect Laura Jens-Smith, East Hampton supervisor-elect Peter Van Scoyoc and re-elected Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.
Riverhead supervisor-elect Laura Jens-Smith, East Hampton supervisor-elect Peter Van Scoyoc and re-elected Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

By far the greatest upset on the East End this election day is Democratic Riverhead Town Supervisor candidate Laura Jens-Smith’s overthrow of incumbent Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter.

Laura Jens-Smith and Catherine Kent at Riverhead Democratic Headquarters on Main Street Tuesday evening.
Laura Jens-Smith and Catherine Kent at Riverhead Democratic Headquarters on Main Street Tuesday evening.

Ms. Jens-Smith, who will be Riverhead’s first female supervisor, handily beat the four-term supervisor, whose administration has been challenged this year by his support for a shaky deal in the works with a drone company to buy much of the land at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.

Ms. Jens-Smith took home 52.8 percent of the vote, while Mr. Walter took home 45.7 percent.

One of the two members of Ms. Jens-Smith’s first-ever, all-female Democratic town board slate managed to break the Republican lock-hold on the Riverhead Town Board. Catherine Kent, who received 25.9 percent of the vote, will join Ms. Jens-Smith on the board.

Incumbent Republican Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio was easily re-elected with 26.8 percent of the vote. Her running mate, sod farmer Frank Beyrodt, was unsuccessful, taking home just 25.3 percent. Democratic challenger Michele Lynch took home just 21.9 percent.

“We worked very hard, had great volunteers and committee members and union support,” said Ms. Jens-Smith as she celebrated at Democratic headquarters on Main Street Tuesday evening.

Ms. Kent attributed their success to dissatisfaction in the way the town is currently being governed, and to hard work on the part of her team.

Ms. Jens-Smith said Ms. Lynch will likely stay involved in town government, where she is currently very active with the Anti-Bias Task Force, and she would like to bring her running mate back into town board politics in the future.

“She put her heart into this, and she’s going to continue to work for the people of this town,” she said.

Ms. Jens-Smith said her first priorities as supervisor will be to reevaluate the town’s plans for EPCAL and to revitalize downtown, while Ms. Kent, a lifelong Riverhead resident, said she wants to work on downtown.

“A downtown reflects the heart and soul of a town,” she said.

Democratic Shelter Island Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty was also upset in tonight’s election, beaten by Republican Gary Gerth, who took 54.6 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman returned to office with a wide margin of victory, while in East Hampton Town, incumbent Deputy Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc easily took home the supervisor’s seat.

In Southold, which is the only East End town that holds a supervisor race every four years instead of two, there was no supervisor race this year.

Southold Councilmen Jim Dinizio, a Conservative, and Bob Ghosio, a Republican, were easily re-elected, taking home 28.4 and 26.4 percent of the vote, respectively while Democratic challengers Debbie O’Kane and Mary Eisenstein took home 19.9 and 25.3 percent of the vote, respectively.

In East Hampton, with popular Democratic Supervisor Larry Cantwell not seeking re-election, Mr. Van Scoyoc, a Democrat and environmentalist who’s been on the town board for six years, was likely helped by the outgoing supervisor’s long coattails, handily beating Republican Manny Vilar, a State Parks Police Sergeant and vice president of the New York Park Police Sergeants Association, in a vote of 61.3 to 38.6.

Incumbent East Hampton Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez was easily returned to her seat with 34.2 percent of the vote, while her running mate, Jeff Bragman, took home 27.4 percent. Unsuccessful Republican candidates Paul Giardina and Jerry Larsen took home 19.4 and 19 percent, respectively.

In Southampton, incumbent Democratic Supervisor Jay Schneiderman won his second term with 62.3 of the vote. Republican challenger Ray Overton, a property and construction manager and former town trustee, took home 37.1 percent.

Incumbent Democratic Councilwoman Julie Lofstad was the top vote-getter in the Southampton Town Board race, with 31.1 percent of the vote, and she will be joined on the board by her running mate, Tommy John Schiavoni, who took home 27.1 percent.  Incumbent Republican Councilman Stan Glinka failed to win re-election, taking home 23.8 percent. His running mate, Thea Dombrowski-Fry, took home just 17.9 percent.

It was a night for incumbents in other Southampton Town races, with incumbent trustees Bruce Stafford, Bill Pell, Ed Warner and Scott Horowitz winning re-election, with one surprise from first-time Democratic Trustee candidate Ann Welker taking the seat of Eric Schultz on the board. She will be the first woman to serve on the Southampton Trustees. Incumbent Democratic Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor took home 57.3 percent of the vote, beating Republican challenger Lance Aldrich, who had 42.7 percent of the vote.

Republican Trustees were victorious in Southold, with John Bredemeyer and Michael Domino returning to their seats, joined by their running mate, Greg Williams. Republican Southold Highway Superintendent Vinny Orlando won re-election over Democratic challenger Eugene Wesnofske, with 52.2 percent of the vote.

It was a mixed night for the nine-member East Hampton Town Trustees, with incumbents Bill Taylor, Francis Bock, Richard Drew, Bryan Burns and Jim Grimes winning re-election. But there were several upsets. John Aldred, Dell Cullum, Susan McGraw Keber and Susan Vorpahl will join them on the board.

On Shelter Island, Councilwoman Amber Branch-Williams will be joined on the board by Marcus Kaasik.

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

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