This story was reported by John Asbury, Vera Chinese, Carl MacGowan, Deborah S. Morris, Nicholas Spangler, Jean-Paul Salamanca and Dandan Zou.
Long Island voters in eight villages will elect trustees running in contested races and elect mayors who are also facing challengers in Southampton, Sag Harbor and Port Jefferson when they go to the polls starting June 15.
In what may be Long Island’s most contentious mayoral race this year, incumbent Jesse Warren will face off against his predecessor, Michael Irving, in Southampton Village on June 18. Warren, who is 38 and owns two boutiques in the village, was a newcomer to village politics when he was elected in 2019. He narrowly defeated Irving, winning by fewer than 50 votes, 450-405.
Irving, 67, served as mayor from 2017 until 2019 and spent five years as a trustee and also served on the village planning board.
The election marks a shift in village politics, with spending from private outside groups on behalf of the candidates, including mailers from the Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation, the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association’s Political Action Committee.
Warren has clashed with the village PBA during his tenure, with the union holding a no-confidence vote last summer against the mayor, who also serves as police commissioner.
Warren is running on his record of addressing pollution in Lake Agawam and revitalizing the village’s downtown.
"This election we have a very clear choice as to whether to keep our village moving forward with positive achievements or simply to turn back the clock as to how things used to be," Warren said during a Thursday debate hosted by the Express News Group, a local newspaper chain.
Irving said he is running because he has strong family ties to the community and that he has a track record of working with all members of government, including the police.
"We need to bring unity back," Irving said during the debate. "I wouldn’t have stayed here for 67 years if it weren’t for the people of Southampton."
Running for two open trustee seats are incumbents Mark Parash and Andrew Pilaro, who have aligned with Irving, and challengers Robin Brown and Roy Stevenson. The terms are two years.