Zeldin Declares Victory; Republicans Have Election Night Leads

Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin declared victory late Tuesday in his bid for a fourth term, as Republican candidates up and down East End ballots showed a lead in the Election Day count. But no other local candidate has yet declared victory. Absentee ballots here will begin to be counted this coming week.

“We’ve been talking about how this was going to be one of the most important elections of our lifetime,” Mr. Zeldin told a crowd of supporters as he declared victory at his Center Moriches campaign headquarters just after 11:30 p.m. “What type of a country do you want? Now, go out and fight for it. We don’t want to have to wake up the day after an election wishing we had fought a little harder.”

As of 1 a.m., with all election districts reporting, Mr. Zeldin had 61.31 percent of the vote, 176,317 votes, while his opponent Nancy Goroff, a Stony Brook chemist, had 38.66 percent, or 111,188, a 65,129-vote spread.

Ms. Goroff had not conceded as of 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Her campaign chairman, Jacob Sarkozi, said in a statement that, “with tens of thousands of ballots left to be opened, we owe it to voters that every single one be counted.”

At his headquarters late Tuesday, Mr. Zeldin thanked Ms. Goroff for a hard-fought campaign.

“We need to come together when the election is over and we need to work with each other, not as Democrats first or Republicans first but as Long Islanders,” he said.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections reported it has received 209,207 absentee ballot requests by the Oct. 27 deadline and 120,091 absentee ballots countywide had been received by the Board of Elections as of Monday afternoon. That’s 57.4 percent of ballots that had been requested.

About 61,200 of the ballots received were from the First Congressional District and about half of those were from registered Democrats. One quarter of the absentee ballots received to date in the First Congressional District were from registered Republicans and another quarter were from voters not affiliated with a major party.

Suffolk will continue to accept absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day through next Tuesday, Nov. 10, when counting of these ballots will begin.

As of Nov. 6, Mr. Zeldin was still supporting President Donald Trump’s effort to challenge the nationwide election results as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden closed in on the nomination, racking up big margins in outstanding absentee ballots in Pennsylvania.

“Just got off the phone with President Trump & he still has so much fight in him to make our country greater than ever. He ran such a hard fought campaign, doing 4-5 rallies per day at the end all across the USA. It’s a warrior spirit & determination that’s second to NONE,” said Mr. Zeldin on Twitter Friday.

Mr. Trump was ahead in Suffolk results available on election night, with 55.63 percent of the vote against former Vice President Joe Biden, who had 43 percent of the county’s votes. With 1031 of 1052 districts reporting as of 1 a.m., 331,979 Suffolk ballots had been counted for Mr. Trump and 256,625 had been counted for Mr. Biden, a 75,354-vote spread. That’s a total of 588,604 votes.

By comparison, 654,521 Suffolk residents had cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election, and 538,282 Suffolk residents had voted for president in 2012.

Early voting throughout Suffolk County saw long lines all nine days it was made available, with 122,135 county residents casting early ballots.

There were lines at many East End polling places when voting began at 6 a.m. Tuesday — in a normal year, lines would be an unusual sight on the East End — but most of those lines thinned out as the day wore on.

Here are the results in other local races:

With all districts reporting, Republican Anthony Palumbo had a lead over Democrat Laura Ahearn for the First State Senate District seat to be vacated by Kenneth P. LaValle, with 57.2 percent of the vote to Ms. Ahearn’s 42.78 percent. 74,289 votes had been cast for Mr. Palumbo and 55,554 for Ms. Ahearn. Mr. Palumbo is currently the State Assemblyman on the North Fork and Ms. Ahearn is the Executive Director of the Crime Victims Center. About 32,000 absentee ballots had been received in the First State Senate District.

In the North Fork’s State Assembly race to replace Mr. Palumbo, the county Board of Elections is reporting Republican Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio has 62.39 percent of the vote, ahead of former Democratic Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, who has 36.27 percent of the vote. Ms. Giglio had racked up 34,289 votes, while Ms. Jens-Smith had won 19,935.

Longtime South Fork State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who has been in office since 1992, is in the lead with 53.32 percent of the vote over Republican Heather Collins, who has 46.66 percent. Mr. Thiele currently has 28,186 votes to Ms. Collins’ 24,663.

The Election Night tallies showed Proposal Two on the Suffolk ballot, to use funds from the Suffolk County Sewer Stabilization Fund to plug gaps in the county budget due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a slight lead of 53.79 percent, with 268,381 voters agreeing to use the fund. “No” votes came from 46.21 percent, or 230,602 voters.

A proposal to increase the terms of Suffolk County legislators from two to four years is unlikely to pass — 70.57 percent, or 358,919 voters, said “no,” while 29.43 percent, or 149,653 said “yes.”

The vote came a week after Democratic Suffolk County Legislator William Spencer, a doctor from Huntington, was arrested for allegedly accepting a sex act in exchange for two oxycodone pills in an undercover operation.

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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