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Democrat Sarah Anker declares victory in Suffolk legislature race

Suffolk County Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) declared

Suffolk County Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) declared victory on Monday over Republican challenger Brendan Sweeney. Credit: James Escher

Suffolk County Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) declared victory Monday in her reelection bid in the Sixth District, defeating Republican challenger Brendan Sweeney and denying Republicans the ability to form a veto-proof "supermajority."

Anker won by 63 votes after a recount of ballots concluded Monday, according to unofficial results.

She had been down by nearly 1,200 votes on election night but caught up in absentee ballots in the weeks that followed.

Anker, 57, said she began working on her resume after initial results came in on Nov. 2.

But in an outcome she described as "close to a miracle," she held onto her seat in a largely Republican district during a "red tsunami" that propelled the GOP to pick up three legislative seats.

"I’m a political anomaly," said Anker, who was elected to a sixth full term, which will be her last under county term limits.

"Somehow, I've been able to pull through, and the secret is I work very hard in my community," she said.

Sweeney, 28, of Shoreham, told Newsday he ran to introduce himself to voters before future runs for office.

"I’m proud of the campaign we ran," Sweeney said. "It looks like maybe it's going to be a little bit more time before I get to really be able to represent the district, and that's OK.

Suffolk GOP Chair Jesse Garcia noted Sweeney won election districts in Anker’s hometown of Mount Sinai, as well as in Shoreham, Rocky Point and Miller Place.

Republicans had objected to dozens of ballots in the period after Election Day.

A new state law required a hand recount because the margin between Anker and Sweeney was so close once absentees were counted.

Sweeney withdrew his remaining ballot objections in court on Monday.

Had Sweeney won, Republicans would have held 12 legislative seats — enough to override any veto and pass all legislation and bonding without bipartisan support.

Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), who is expected to be elected presiding officer next month, said Republicans were not expecting a supermajority before the election and pledged to work with Democrats.

Sweeney, a Brookhaven Town citizens' advocate, will still work in the legislature come January: He was recently hired to work as a legislative aide in the presiding officer’s office under McCaffrey starting next month.

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