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Kennedy declares victory in comptroller's race, term-limit measure ahead

Proposal One in Brookhaven would lengthen terms of office for some officials and impose a 12-year limit for all. Elections for town officials were held in Babylon, East Hampton, Huntington, Smithtown and Shelter Island.

Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy speaks in Smithtown

Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy speaks in Smithtown on Oct. 21, 2014.  Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. declared victory late Tuesday night in his bid for a second term, and voters in Brookhaven Town easily approved a term-limit proposition.

Kennedy, 62, who ran on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines, appeared to narrowly beat Democratic Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, according to unofficial results early Wednesday.

"It was old-school hard work hitting the train stations at 4 a.m. for the past four weeks and not just fancy TV commercials, and meeting and talking to people every day," Kennedy said.

Schneiderman said early Wednesday morning that "I probably will end up conceding" later in the day, but he said, with about 30,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, he wants to review the party affiliation of those casting those ballots. Kennedy led by 8,623 votes — less than 2 percent — with all election districts reporting.

"I'm not disappointed with my showing," Schneiderman said. "It was always an uphill battle."

Kennedy campaigned on an increase in audits during his tenure and upgrades of financial systems. Schneiderman, 56, touted a record of not raising taxes and vowed to modernize the comptroller’s office. He ran on the Democratic, Working Families, Women’s Equality and Protect the Taxpayer lines.

In the Suffolk clerk’s race, incumbent Republican Judith Pascale defeated her two challengers, who did not actively campaign.

Pascale, 71, first elected clerk in 2006, ran on the Republican, Conservative, Independence and Reform party lines.

Also on the ballot were Democrat DuWayne Gregory, 49, the county legislature's presiding officer, and Debra Brown, 56, who ran on the Working Families line. Gregory had entered the race to get his name off the ballot for Rep. Peter King’s (R-Seaford) congressional seat after losing the Democratic primary.

Proposal One in Brookhaven will lengthen terms of office for some officials and impose a 12-year limit for all.

The supervisor, town council members and highway superintendent will serve four years — which is already the term for the clerk and receiver of taxes — instead of the current two. All town elected officials will then be limited to three terms. Town council members already have a 12-year limit.

There were elections for town officials in Babylon, East Hampton, Huntington, Smithtown and Shelter Island.

In Babylon, Terence McSweeney, 39, who ran on the Democratic, Conservative, Independence and Women's Equality lines, easily beat Republican Jodi Barreiros, 49. They ran to complete the last year of the board term McSweeney was appointed to last year after the election of Tom Donnelly to the county legislature.

In East Hampton, David Lys resoundingly won his bid to fill the unexpired term of council member Peter Van Scoyoc, who was elected supervisor. Lys, 42, appointed to the post in January, ran on the Democratic and Working Families lines. His opponent, Manuel M. Vilar Jr., 58, ran on the Republican and Conservative lines.

In Huntington, Joan Cergol, 57, who was appointed to the town council in December 2017 to fill the seat of Susan Berland after Berland was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature, won her bid for a full term. She ran on the Democratic, Working Families, Independence and Women's Equality lines. Her opponent, attorney James Leonick, 56, ran on the Republican, Conservative and Reform lines.

Huntington Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman, 48, who was appointed to the position in December 2017, beat Janet Smitelli in her bid to fill the one year remaining of Ester Bivona’s term. Guthman was running on the Democratic, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines. Smitelli ran on the GOP, Conservative, Independence and Reform lines. Bivona retired last year.

Tom Lohmann, 61, a Republican appointed to the Smithtown Town Council in January to fill the vacancy created when Edward Wehrheim became supervisor, easily beat Democrat Amy Fortunato.

Lohmann, also ran on the Conservative and Independence lines. Fortunato, 57, ran on the Democratic, Women’s Equality and Working Families lines.

In Shelter Island, Mary-Faith Westervelt, 65, ran unopposed for re-election as town justice on the Democratic and Republican lines. Judith Lechmanski, 30, ran unopposed on the Democratic and GOP lines for one of the three Shelter Island assessor posts.

With Rick Brand

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