Mastic Beach trustee candidate Joseph Johnson, whose name had earlier been removed from the ballot, was elected to the village board Tuesday night as a write-in — a first in the village’s five-year history.
Johnson, 33, a Hauppauge attorney who unsuccessfully ran for village trustee last year, said he was pleased with his win.
“I’m humbled people came out and took the time to vote for me as a write-in,” he said. “I plan on hitting the ground running.”
Johnson, who graduated from Stony Brook University in 2004, promised if elected to improve quality of life in the village by cracking down on blighted homes and drug dealers. He said he would bring professionalism to the board of trustees.
Incumbent trustee Betty Manzella won her re-election bid and earned the most votes with 544 while Johnson had 525. Deputy Mayor Bruce Summa received 504 votes and challenger Darrin Harsch 490.
The four candidates were running for two two-year trustee seats.
Johnson lost a lawsuit to get back on the ballot after the Suffolk County Board of Elections ruled his nominating petitions were invalid.
The Suffolk County Board of Elections said Johnson’s write-in victory was unusual.
“The larger the jurisdiction the more uncommon it would be. For a smaller jurisdiction, it’s unusual,” said Josh Price, senior assistant commissioner on the Republican side at the Board of Elections.
Johnson’s win could change the political balance among the village board of trustees.
Mayor Maura Spery was closely aligned with Manzella and Summa giving them a majority on the five-member board.
They were often at odds with trustees Christopher Anderson and Anne Snyder, who campaigned with the mayor and deputy mayor last March.
Spery did not return phone calls Wednesday.
Reached by phone, Manzella said she was turning her attention to the quality of life issues she campaigned on along with helping the village create a comprehensive plan.
For his part, Summa said, “Everything happens for a reason. The people have spoken and that’s all you can do. The better man won.”