LI judicial races expected to be close

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Results in more than a dozen judicial races were expected to be too early to post Tuesday due partly to affidavit ballots that took more time to count, election officials said.

There were 29 judicial elections, from Glen Cove city court to district and state courts.

The hottest races centered on the 12 candidates vying for six state Supreme Court posts. They included the seats of three Appellate Division justices: Democrat Leonard Austin; and Republicans Peter Skelos, brother to State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), and James Catterson, son of the late Suffolk County district attorney James Catterson Jr.

On the Republican and Conservative lines were Joy Watson, a deputy Nassau comptroller; Mount Sinai attorney Rudolph Cartier; Christopher Quinn, a Nassau County Court judge who oversees the District Court; and longtime Suffolk County Court Judge Gary Weber.

On the Democratic and Working Families lines were Huntington Town attorney John Leo; Richard Ambro, law secretary to Suffolk's administrative judge; Leonard Steinman, a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority; Sondra Pardes, a Nassau District Court judge; and Hope Zimmerman, a Nassau Family Court judge who supervises the county's divorce courts.

The Independence Party endorsed Leo, Austin, Ambro, Steinman, Pardes and Skelos.

Four judicial elections had results -- they were uncontested.

In Suffolk's 3rd District Court, Karen Kerr will start a six-year term after being appointed in August to fill a vacancy.

Remaining as town justices are Allen M. Smith, on Republican and Conservative lines in Riverhead; Andrea H. Schiavoni, endorsed by all parties in Southampton; and Helen J. Rosenblum, on Democrat, Republican and Conservative lines, in Shelter Island.

Usually, judicial elections don't get much attention, but the terms can be long -- 14 years for Supreme Court -- and judges can change history and lives as much as lawmakers.

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