Christine Scalera leads in Southampton

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In Southampton, Republican Christine Scalera is 85 votes ahead of her opponent, Democrat Brad Bender, in the race for town board, with 791 absentee ballots still to count, according to the Suffolk Board of Elections.

If Scalera holds on to the lead, the board will retain its 3-2 Republican majority. If Bender wins, the Democrats will take control.

Bender said he is not conceding yet, while Scalera said she is "cautiously optimistic."

There were four candidates running for two council seats: one held by Democrat Bridget Fleming, who sought re-election and one held by Republican Nancy Graboski, who couldn't run for re-election because of term limits.

Fleming won her seat back with 5,828 votes, making her the top vote-getter of the four candidates. Scalera received 5,342, Bender 5,257 and William Hughes Jr. received 5,173 in unofficial results counted Tuesday night.

Absentee ballots waiting to be counted in the town are 281 Democratic, 320 Republican, 18 Conservative, 23 Independent and 148 blanks, or no affiliation. Officials at the election board said counting would begin Wednesday.

Scalera is an attorney from Southampton specializing in land use, and is also a part-time town attorney in Brookhaven. She said she won't claim victory until all the ballots are counted. The process of running, especially talking to neighbors as she went door-to-door, has inspired her, she said.

Bender, president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association, said he isn't throwing in the towel yet.

"If you look at Southampton's voting historically, [elections] have been won and lost by a handful of votes," he said.

Anna Throne-Holst easily defeated former supervisor Linda Kabot's write-in campaign by a vote of 6,249 to 3,602.

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