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Gillen claims upset victory over Santino in Hempstead; Saladino wins in Oyster Bay

Laura Gillen, a Democrat who won the Nov. 7, 2017 election for Hempstead Town Supervisor, spoke with Newsday reporters after the results came in. (Credit: Newsday/John Asbury and Stefanie Dazio; News 12)

Democrat Laura Gillen declared victory late Tuesday over Hempstead GOP Supervisor Anthony Santino, while Oyster Bay GOP Supervisor Joseph Saladino beat Democratic challenger Marc Herman.

In the Glen Cove mayoral race, incumbent Reginald Spinello was ahead by 21 votes against Democratic challenger Timothy Tenke, a city councilman. All precincts in that city were counted, but absentee ballots remained to be tallied.

Gillen said in an interview: “I am ecstatic, I am thrilled, I am so grateful” to supporters. Santino did not publicly concede the race by shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Hempstead is typically a GOP stronghold, but the party has been rocked by recent infighting on the town board and the indictment of Councilman Edward Ambrosino on federal wire fraud and tax evasion charges. Fellow Republicans and town board members Erin King Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman have been publicly feuding with Santino over their call for ethics reform.

In Oyster Bay, Democrats running for supervisor, town board and clerk had hoped to capitalize on the October 2016 indictment of longtime GOP supervisor John Venditto on federal corruption charges. “Had Enough Corruption? Vote Democratic” signs dotted lawns across the town.

But Saladino, a former state assemblyman who was appointed supervisor in January after Venditto resigned, sought to distance himself from Venditto, repeatedly saying “it’s a new day in Oyster Bay” and touting moves that he said show a commitment to greater transparency. The three GOP town board incumbents — Michele Johnson, Louis Imbroto and Thomas Hand — got the most votes.

Saladino said he also had worked to reduce spending and make government more efficient, and he vowed to reduce borrowing to cut its debt. Critics said fresh faces were needed in Town Hall to improve the town’s precarious financial position.

Saladino faced four opponents: Democrat and former Syosset school board president Marc Herman, who questioned Saladino’s commitment to reform, as did John Mangelli, who narrowly lost to Venditto in 2015 as a Democrat and ran on the Reform line; Jonathan Clarke, an attorney running on the Progressive line; and Robert Ripp, a frequent critic of Saladino at town board meetings who ran on the End Corruption line.

In other town board and clerk races:

  • In the Oyster Bay clerk’s race, incumbent GOP clerk James Altadonna Jr. beat Democrat Dean Hart.
  • In Hempstead, Democratic town board incumbent Dorothy Goosby and Republican incumbents Anthony D’Esposito and Dennis Dunne Sr. held comfortable leads in the three town board races.

In North Hempstead, Democrat Judi Bosworth easily beat Stephen Nasta to win a third term as supervisor. Democratic incumbent Viviana Russell, Republican Angelo Ferrara and Democratic incumbent Lee Seeman won, as did incumbent clerk Wayne Wink. Bosworth said late Tuesday she was very happy and honored that North Hempstead voters “had the confidence in the job that I’m doing.”

“It says that the people recognize good government and that they appreciate a government that’s open and transparent,” she said.

  • In Glen Cove, Tenke and his Democratic City Council running mates had criticized Spinello, an Independence Party member also running on the GOP line, for supporting too many tax breaks for large developments such as Garvies Point, the giant, 56-acre waterfront project.

“Change makes people nervous,” Spinello said late Tuesday in reacting to the razor-thin margin. “I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I’ve set Glen Cove in the right direction.”

Spinello said he is “confident” he’ll win but said he would not yet declare victory.

Tenke could not be reached for comment.

In the City Council race, Marsha Silverman was the only Democrat finishing in the top six for six seats. But she was ahead of Republican Matthew Connolly by only 15 votes. Incumbent Republicans Pamela Panzenbeck, Joseph Capabianco and Nicholas DiLeo Jr. won, as did GOP candidates Kevin Maccarone and Michael Zangari.

  • In the Long Beach City Council race for three seats, the three Democrats were leading with all precincts counted: Incumbents Scott Mandel and Chumi Diamond and West End Neighbors Civic Association President John Bendo, who garnered the most votes.

With Ted Phillips and Stefanie Dazio

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