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Suffolk Democratic lawmakers hanging onto majority

In early returns last night, Democrats in the Suffolk County Legislature were hanging on to their majority, but three lawmakers who caucus with the Democrats were in close races with Republican challengers.

The legislature currently tilts Democrat 11-6, with another member who caucuses with neither major party.

In the 7th District, Republican challenger L. Dean Murray was in a tight race with Legis. Jack Eddington (I-Medford), who caucuses with the Democrats. Murray had been hoping to exploit clashes between Eddington and Democratic County Executive Steve Levy over police issues.

Legis. Brian Beedenbender (D-Centereach) was in a tight race with Thomas Muratore, a Ronkonkoma Republican running against him in the 4th District for the second time.

And in the 16th District, Democratic Legis. Steve Stern, 41, of Dix Hills, was in a tight race with Republican William Matthew Groh, 43, of North Babylon, an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law.

A key battleground was the open seat in the 10th District, where Republican Thomas Cilmi, a former legislative aide and Bay Shore businessman, in early returns was ahead of Democrat Patrick Nolan, son of Islip Supervisor Phil Nolan. Timothy Molnar, of Islip Terrace, the Conservative Party candidate, was in third place.

In another hard-fought race, in the 11th District, Legis. Thomas Barraga, the veteran Albany and Suffolk lawmaker who lost two minor party primaries, was ahead of his challenger, Democrat James Alcus, a local youth activist.

Democrats had been looking to secure a veto-proof majority of 12, while Republicans hoped to pick up an additional seat that would give them the votes necessary to block capital spending bonds.

Here's a rundown of the other races:

1st District

Republican Legis. Edward P. Romaine, 56, of Center Moriches, who was seeking his fifth term, was leading over challenger Michael Comando, 56, a Democrat from Southold, who was making his third try for public office.

2nd District

Incumbent Jay Schneiderman, 47, an Independence Party member from Montauk, was running unopposed on the Democratic, Republican, Independence, Conservative and Working Families lines.

3rd District

Two-term Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) was leading over former Brookhaven town board member Carol Bissonette, a Democrat running on the Republican line.

5th District

Legis. Vivian Viloria-Fisher, 61, a Democrat from Setauket, was ahead of Peter Busacca, 50, a Republican from Port Jefferson Station.

6th District

Republican Daniel Losquadro, the legislature's minority leader, was leading over Shoreham businessman Bryan Lilly, a Democrat making his second run for public office, after a failed 2007 race for the county legislature.

8th District

Democratic Presiding Officer William Lindsay was ahead of Matthew Silecchia, 25, a Conservative from Sayville running on the GOP line.

9th District

Ricardo Montano, 59, of Central Islip, was unopposed.

12th District

Republican Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr., 53, was leading over Errol D. Toulon Jr., 47, a retired captain who worked at the Rikers Island correctional facility in New York City.

13th District

Republican Legis. Lynne C. Nowick, 62, of St. James, was leading over political newcomer Rachel Kerdman, 49, of Smithtown, a Democrat, an attorney making her first run for public office.

14th District

Democratic Legis. Wayne R. Horsley, 58, of Babylon, was ahead of Mark. M. Gallo, 41, of Lindenhurst, a Republican making his second try for the county legislature after an unsuccessful bid two years ago.

15th District

Democratic Legis. DuWayne Gregory, of Amityville, 39, was leading over Republican Edward White Jr., 51, of Copiague. In July 2008, White mounted an unsuccessful bid against Gregory for the same seat in a special election.

17th District

Democratic Legis. Louis D'Amaro, 48, of North Babylon, was leading over Republican Kevin M. Meyer, 36, of Melville. Meyer, who owns a Melville technology business, was making his first run for office.

18th District

Democratic Legis. Jon Cooper, the legislature's majority leader, was ahead of Republican Frank J. Stalzer, 52, of Huntington, who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Rep. Steve Israel in 2008.

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