Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello on Wednesday was clinging to a 21-vote lead over challenger Timothy Tenke, as absentee ballots that will determine the final result continued to arrive at the Nassau County Board of Elections.
Spinello, an Independence Party member who also ran on the GOP line, led 2,651 to 2,630 over Democrat Tenke, according to unofficial results. There were 276 absentee ballots remaining to be counted as of Wednesday morning, an elections board official said. Results likely will be finalized by Nov. 17, the official said.
Spinello said one reason for the close contest is big developments like the giant Garvies Point waterfront project. “Change makes people nervous,” he said.
Tenke said residents were voting more against what he called overly generous tax breaks and financial assistance for the projects than against the developments themselves.
Spinello outspent Tenke more than 3 to 1 this year, $43,030 to $12,053, state elections records show. But Spinello said Tenke was helped by his party affiliation in a city where Democrats enjoy a nearly 50 percent registration advantage over Republicans.
Spinello first won election in 2013 in another very close election, when he beat then-incumbent Mayor Ralph Suozzi by 74 votes.
Republicans, including three incumbents, were the five top vote-getters in the 14-candidate race for six City Council spots. Democrat Marsha Silverman was leading by 15 votes for the sixth spot over Republican Matthew Connolly, with absentee ballots still to be counted.
Silverman, who often challenges the mayor’s policies at council meetings, said voters “want somebody like me who will be their advocate.”
Marcela De La Fuente failed in her bid to become the city’s first council member of Latin American ancestry since the 1990s, in a city that is nearly 30 percent Latino. She said Wednesday she may run again in 2019, because “my community still doesn’t have representation.”
Meanwhile, in the Island’s other city, the Long Beach City Council is planning to launch a nationwide search for a new city manager, following the election of the city’s chief administrator, Jack Schnirman, as Nassau County comptroller.
Long Beach voters Tuesday re-elected two City Council incumbents, Scott Mandel and Chumi Diamond. The top vote-getter, John Bendo, will replace Council President Len Torres, who did not seek re-election.
Bendo and Mandel both will receive 4-year terms as the leading candidates, while Diamond will have a 2-year term.
Mandel said the current council hopes to have a new city manager in place before the new council takes office Jan. 1. Schnirman said he will aid in the transition.
“I’d like to see a blend of academic and experience,” Mandel said. “I want someone who is open to thinking outside the box of creative ideas and shares the understanding that residents and quality of life always comes first.”