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Judge to help decide Brookhaven election outcome

A State Supreme Court judge is expected to examine disputed ballots and decide the outcome of the last unresolved Brookhaven Town council race next week, officials said Wednesday.

The judge, who has not been named, is tentatively scheduled to hold a hearing on Monday at which the judge may rule on the validity of 48 ballots cast in the 4th District council race between incumbent Democrat Connie Kepert and Republican challenger Michael Loguercio Jr. The location of the hearing will be decided when a judge is chosen.

Loguercio, a Longwood school board member, led Kepert by 94 votes when ballots were counted on Election Day. Kepert pulled to within 11 votes after absentee ballots were tallied, officials have said.

Republicans challenged 32 ballots and Democrats 16 ballots. The 4th District covers hamlets in central Brookhaven.

Loguercio said Wednesday he was "cautiously optimistic" he would win the election.

"But on the other hand, I'm not ready to celebrate," he said. "I'm just preparing, very quietly, to represent District 4. I'm preparing because I don't want to wait until the last second to start the transition."

Kepert, an eight-year incumbent, said Wednesday that she was "very hopeful that it will work out in our favor."

Elections must be certified by the end of the month.

Brookhaven Town Republican chairman Jesse Garcia said the 4th District race already is close. "It's a barn burner of an election," he said.

Kepert was one of two incumbent Brookhaven councilwoman in danger of losing her seat. The other, Kathleen Walsh, a former Republican who ran on the Democratic line, was defeated by Republican challenger Kevin LaValle.

Republican-backed candidates won five of seven seats on the town board. The lone Democratic winner was newcomer Valerie Cartright, who won the 1st District council seat held by outgoing Democrat Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld.

Also on Monday, an unnamed judge is expected to rule on disputed ballots in the close contest for 6th District Court judge between Democrat Chris A. Kelley and Conservative Barbara Lynaugh. In unofficial results, Lynaugh led Kelley by 422 votes.

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