As far as election nights go, this was a comparably quiet one for Suffolk County Democrats, who gathered to watch results and celebrate victories at IBEW Local 25 in Hauppauge; however, victories were few and far between as Republicans swept the county for several key seats.
Most notably, they lost control of the Suffolk County Legislature, unseating the Democratic majority leader Rob Calarco and taking control of the 18-seat body.
Late Tuesday night, Suffolk County Democratic Committee chairman Rich Schaefer took to the stage to first announce that Errol Toulon Jr. had won his race with just over 54 percent of the vote, 141,931 votes, against William Amato for Suffolk County sheriff, who garnered 45 percent of the vote with 119,357 votes.
“It’s no secret watching the numbers that there’s a lot going on in the county right now,” said Schaefer.
A few moments later, Schaefer was back on the stage, trailed by a dozen candidates who had won and lost races throughout the county.
“As you know, sometimes there are things that are beyond your control, and this was Exhibit A for things that were beyond your control,” he said.
Schaefer first announced Suffolk County presiding officer Rob Calarco’s upset against Dominick Thorne. Calarco was defeated with 45 percent of the vote, 5,627 votes, to Thorne, who took 54 percent with 6,611 votes, for District 7. This would have been Calarco’s final term as legislator after serving a total of 10 years in the seat.
“I want to recognize a young man who is not done, even though he may be done as a result of the results that have come in in his district in Brookhaven. But you have not heard the last of him,” said Schaefer. “Everyone will tell you, even the Republicans will tell you, he did a damn good job as a presiding officer.”
Calarco spoke about the upset and took time to reminisce on some of his accomplishments from his time in office.
“Sometimes you don’t know how the results are going to play out, and sometimes you get caught up in a national movement, as happened tonight. But I have a lot to be proud of standing here with my colleagues, looking at what we’ve accomplished for Suffolk County,” he said in his concession speech.
The race for Tim Sini for Suffolk County district attorney was yet unannounced by 12:30 Wednesday morning. Results eventually came in at 57 percent for the Republican candidate Ray Tierney with 153,808 votes to Sini’s 42 percent, 114,514 votes.
Democrat Kate Browning, who didn’t win her race against Republican James Mazzarella for Suffolk County’s 3rd District, said voter turnout is important in off-year elections.
“The bottom line is it’s about turnout and whether Dems turn out to vote. I think sometimes some voters become complacent and think everything is going to be ok. People don’t realize how important every single vote is,” she said, conceding to her opponent.
She lost to special election incumbent Mazzarella with 32 percent of the vote, 3,708 votes, to his 66 percent of the vote, and 7,525 votes.
Closing out the evening, Schaefer and Calarco spoke about the future of Suffolk County’s Democratic Party, saying they’d now be concentrating on the next election, two years from now.
The full unofficial results of Tuesday’s election can be found on the Suffolk County Board of Elections website.
DISCLAIMER: All vote tallies are not final counts and based off the initially released unofficial votes. Absentee ballots are still to be counted and announced.
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