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Upset in Great Neck mayoral race highlights LI village elections

Community members continue to wait in line to

Community members continue to wait in line to cast their votes in Great Neck elections, Tuesday, June 16, 2015 after 9:45 p.m. Voting time was extended from 9pm to 10pm to accommodate the large turnout. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A victorious insurgent campaign in Great Neck unseated the mayor and two incumbent trustees Tuesday night, while a race in Manorhaven was poised to head to state court over contested ballots.

In Great Neck, Dr. Pedram Bral, 45, director of minimally invasive and robotic gynecologic surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, defeated Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, 69, who was seeking his fifth term, 1,040 to 391.

Also on Bral's Voice of the Village ticket, Anne Mendelson and Raymond Plakstis Jr. won the two trustee seats with 980 and 1,020 votes, respectively. They defeated incumbent trustees Jeffrey Bass and Mitchell Beckerman, who received 350 and 346 votes, respectively. Samuel J. Yellis, a trustee candidate with the Bridge Party, received 136 votes.

"I think it was a great show of support; the people of the village have spoken," Bral said in an interview after the election. He vowed to turn Great Neck into a "much fairer and friendly place to live for everybody."

Votes were not counted until 10:15 p.m. to accommodate long lines. Roughly 100 voters who arrived after the 9 p.m. poll closure were turned away at the door.

They were among thousands of voters who turned out for contested races in seven Long Island villages Tuesday. Quogue and Westhampton Beach's elections will be held Friday.

When polls closed in Manorhaven, the election for two trustee seats was in limbo with five votes contested, and village officials were poised to appear in State Supreme Court in Mineola Wednesday, Village Clerk-Treasurer Leslie Gross said.

Incumbent Rita Di Lucia was the top vote-getter, while the other candidates -- challengers James M. Avena and John S. Popeleski, and Deputy Mayor Lucretia Steele -- had totals within three votes of one another.

Earlier Tuesday, three residents came to vote whose names did not appear on the village's list of registered voters, Gross said. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Roy S. Mahon ordered that their votes be written on separate paper ballots and be sealed, not to be opened unless those votes could alter the election, Gross said. Two absentee ballots also are in dispute, Gross said.

Meanwhile, a handful of contested village elections across Long Island Tuesday saw incumbents largely re-elected. All trustee and mayoral terms are two years, except where noted.

In Port Jefferson, Mayor Margot Garant handily won a fourth term, defeating challenger Dave Forgione of the Community Party. Garant's running mates on the Unity Party line, incumbent Laurence LaPointe and newcomer Stanley Loucks, won the two trustee seats, defeating challenger Matthew Franco of the Village First party.

"I'd like to thank everyone who supported me. It was great to see a small village get excited over an election, and I wish Mayor Garant and the trustees who won good luck," Forgione said when reached by phone.

In Sag Harbor, trustee Sandra Schroeder defeated Robby Stein in the race for mayor; Brian Gilbride did not seek re-election. Schroeder, of the Residents Party, was elected trustee last year after she unsuccessfully challenged Gilbride for mayor in 2013. Stein, of the Windmill Party, was appointed trustee in 2009 and had won re-election three times.

In Brightwaters, incumbents Christian Sullivan and Bernadette Whitwell were re-elected to two trustee seats, defeating challenger Steve Pertusati. Incumbent Laurie Elliott ran unopposed for a one-year term.

In Dering Harbor, Deputy Mayor Heather Brownlie and incumbent Richard Smith defeated Robert Ferris and Alfredo Paredes for two trustee seats.

In Poquott, Harold Berry and Jeffrey Koppelson won the two open trustee seats, while incumbent Sandra Nicoletti defeated challenger Karen Sartain for a seat that carries a one-year term.

With Laura Blasey

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the results in Poquott. 

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