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Dems lead in 5 of 6 N.Y. Supreme Court seats

This will be the second time in in

This will be the second time in in less than four years that the parent company of Reader's Digest has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Credit: Newsday, 2003 / Jim Peppler

Democrats appeared poised to take five of six state Supreme Court seats on Long Island, leaving Justice Peter B. Skelos as the lone Republican victor, according to unofficial election results.

The results also showed Republican Justice James M. Catterson with too few votes to retain his seat, although absentee, provisional and unscanned emergency ballots still must be counted. Candidates run in Nassau and Suffolk.

Twelve candidates -- six Democrats, five Republicans and one Conservative -- were vying for 14-year terms. The Democrats who led in vote counts were:

Richard Ambro, clerk to Suffolk's administrative judge, with 440,201 votes

Huntington Town attorney John Leo, 439,190

Sondra Pardes, a Nassau District Court judge, 435,778

Leonard Austin, a Supreme Court justice since 1998, 432,797

Leonard Steinman, a member of Nassau County's financial control board, 422,111

Skelos, brother to State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), was in fifth place with 427,481 votes.

"Right now, I'm gratified that I'm in the position that I'm in," Skelos said in a telephone interview. "I have my seat belt on."

Catterson, who has served on the court's Appellate Division for the last 14 years, ranked eighth. He trailed Steinman, who finished in sixth place, by more than 15,000 votes. Catterson couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday.

Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle said many of the Supreme Court candidates were "within the margin of reasonable error." He said the party planned to closely monitor the tabulation of absentee and affidavit ballots cast by residents affected by superstorm Sandy.

"We're going to take a good hard look and if we think there's something to contest we will," LaValle said. "If we're going to embrace the concept that every vote counts, then we have to do our part to make sure every vote is counted."

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