Ginny Fields. (May 2010)

Ginny Fields. (May 2010) Credit: Kathy Kmonicek, 2010

At first light Wednesday, 5th District Assemb. Ginny Fields of Oakdale came to the conclusion she likely had lost the Democratic primary to upstart Sayville businessman Kenneth J. Mangan.

She also came to the conclusion she didn't care, she said, vowing to stay in the race - and win in November.

"I think I can still win this," Fields, the six-year incumbent, said Wednesday morning. "I'm very optimistic. I really am."

With all 92 precincts reporting, Mangan was the winner, 1,491 to 1,304, the Suffolk County Board of Elections said - though there remained about 160 absentee ballots to be counted.

Late Tuesday, Fields vowed not to concede until the votes were recounted and the absentee ballots counted. But she considered overnight what her constituents told her Tuesday - and concluded she could turn the tables come November, she said Wednesday.

Fields still has the Independence Party and Working Families lines. And she said that she believes a lot of voters who will support her in November simply did not vote in the primary, underestimating its importance.

The Board of Elections said just 2,795 of 23,668 potential voters turned out Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Fields angered the state teachers union when she said teachers should reopen their contracts and agree to wage freezes to help the state balance its budget.

But Fields said she doesn't believe it was political backlash that hurt her. She said she talked to voters in her district Tuesday - traveling to Ronkonkoma, Patchogue, Holbrook, Sayville and other areas - and said many told her they were not going to vote because they didn't think she needed them.

"I heard a lot of people say, 'Don't worry about it. I'm not even going to vote. You're a shoo-in,' " Fields said. "I think a lot of people don't understand the value of a primary . . . I think a lot of people thought, 'I don't need to do this.' But I think that, come November, having the other two lines, a lot of those same people will be like, 'Oh, my God. Look what happened' and that I'll get those votes back then."

The Fields campaign raised far more money than Mangan - $29,250 to $5,591, according to the most recent reports. That made the challenger even happier late Tuesday, when he said: "We are definitely declaring ourselves the winner. We are looking forward to November and moving on to bring the change we need to Albany."

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