Eight Suffolk towns re-elect supervisors

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Longtime town leaders Patrick Vecchio of Smithtown and Frank Petrone of Huntington held onto their posts last night, as incumbent supervisors swept six contested races in Suffolk County.

Vecchio easily defeated two opponents, while Petrone eked out a victory over challenger Eugene Cook.

"We knew this would be close," Petrone told a jubilant crowd at Larkfield Manor in East Northport. "The minor parties ganged up on me . . . but the people prevailed."

Incumbents Edward P. Romaine in Brookhaven, Anna Throne-Holst in Southampton, Richard Schaffer in Babylon and Sean M. Walter in Riverhead won by wide margins.

Vecchio, 83, a Republican who fended off accusations that he had allowed town roads and infrastructure to fall into disrepair, said he was "elated" to be re-elected.

"It's a victory for the grassroots organizations who felt their neighborhoods intruded upon . . . and they weren't going to tolerate that," Vecchio said in an interview.

Vecchio said he never felt threatened: "There were too many people . . . who believed that their town ought to remain the way it is."

His opponents were Councilman Robert Creighton, 76, a registered Republican running with Conservative endorsement, and Democrat Steve Snair, 31, a foreclosure attorney. Creighton said he was "very disappointed" but would work with Vecchio. "I totally ran a good race. But the people have spoken."

Snair said the results show "the majority of voters are not happy with who their supervisor is."

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Some voters credited Vecchio with maintaining services while holding the line on taxes in a tough economy. "He's been doing a good job compared to most politicians," said Joseph Brigandi, 66, of Nesconset. "He seems to have it under control, people like him, and he does the job, and that's what you need."

In Brookhaven, Romaine, a Republican, beat fellow former county legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher, a Democrat. "We are going to change this town," Romaine said in his victory speech.

Viloria-Fisher, reached at home by phone Tuesday night, said, "I'm conceding. The people have made their decision, and I respect the will of the people."

Schaffer and unopposed Shelter Island Supervisor James Dougherty cruised to easy wins, and the lone candidate for East Hampton supervisor, Larry Cantwell, also handily won.

Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member running with Democratic endorsement, defeated Republican former supervisor Linda Kabot for the third time in as many elections.

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Riverhead's Walter won a third term, beating Democrat Angela M. DeVito.

Islip and Southold residents did not have supervisor races in which to cast ballots. They voted for council candidates.

With Lauren R. Harrison, Deon J. Hampton, Candice Ruud, Denise M. Bonilla, Deborah S. Morris and Nicholas Spangler

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