The Republican primary for Riverhead Town supervisor won't be finalized until after Sept. 21, when outstanding ballots are counted in a close race between Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, elections officials said Friday.
Giglio led Walter by 29 votes Thursday night, receiving 1,085 votes to Walter's 1,056. But 110 absentee ballots and 52 affidavit ballots remained to be counted, said Nick LaLota, the Republican chairman of the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
LaLota said elections officials will count the outstanding ballots sometime after Sept. 21.See alsoSee winners, losers in LI's primary races
Walter Friday repeated his vow to wage a third-party bid for supervisor on the Conservative line if he loses the Republican primary.
"Can we win it? Maybe," Walter said of the primary. "I'm still going to appear on the Conservative line. I look forward to a spirited three-way race in Riverhead . . . This is no mandate for Councilwoman Giglio."
Giglio thanked supporters Thursday night at a restaurant in downtown Riverhead, but stopped short of declaring victory.
"It was a tough race," she said. "I'm happy to say tonight that I'm on top." Giglio could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
The unresolved primary continues a turbulent political season in Riverhead, which began when Republicans removed Walter, a three-term incumbent, from the ballot by a razor-thin 1,687.5-1,687 vote at the party's May convention.
Giglio was selected as the party's pick to replace Walter. She is midway through her second four-year term on the town board, and will remain on the board whether she wins or loses her supervisor bid.
The Democratic nominee for supervisor is Anthony Coates, a former paid political consultant to Walter who has said he broke with him over budgetary and economic policies.
Walter said he was proud he nearly matched Giglio in the primary despite an aggressive ad campaign launched against him by a super PAC funded by the Suffolk PBA. He said the union "has attempted to buy this election."
Suffolk PBA president Noel DiGerolamo said Friday that Walter "was beat by a better candidate who has greater vision for the town and can deliver to the people the leadership they deserve."
DiGerolamo said the PBA will continue to support Giglio in the general election. He said he did not know what the PBA spent on ads in the primary.
On Thursday, Riverhead Councilwoman James Wooten, who has served on the town board since 2008, regained a spot on the GOP ticket despite also being kicked off the party's ballot in May.
Wooten defeated one of Giglio's running mates, Robert Peeker. Another of her running mates, Timothy Hubbard, won a spot on the Republican ticket.