Primary results not available; but Fischer appears to concede

09/14/2011 8:25 AM |

An apparent glitch in the Suffolk County Board of Elections polling system will keep the candidates in Riverhead’s Democratic primary for town supervisor and council nominations waiting until Wednesday to find out who won.

Riverhead Democratic Committee chairman Vinny Villella said just before midnight Tuesday, after hours of no accurate numbers being reported, that the elections board’s deputy commissioner had informed him that “everybody should go home.”

“They’re not going to have results tonight,” he said, adding that elections workers were planning to check the records on each electronic voting machine on Wednesday to figure out who won.

While the board’s online system at one point Tuesday night reported that results from all of the town’s 22 polling districts were in, only 98 votes had been cast. But some 900 people were predicted to vote in Tuesday’s primary. So the problems were apparent.

The polls opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday and closed at 9 p.m.

“I’m amazed that we’re standing here after 11 p.m. and we have virtually no numbers,” the Democratic Committee’s choice to run for supervisor, Phil Cardinale, said from his South Jamesport house, where he had been joined by supporters.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the board of elections results site read that the results are temporary down.

In the meantime, Mr. Cardinale’s challenger Greg Fischer sent a text message about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday to a reporter that made it seem he was conceding to Mr. Cardinale in their race for the supervisor nomination.

In the text, he said he expected to lose, but said his running mate, Ruth Pollack, who is looking to run for a town council seat, to win. Ms. Pollack is running against two Democratic Committee choices, Matt Van Glad and Marlando Williams, in an at-large primary.

“At the final count I expect Ruth to win and for me to lose,” he wrote. “This is a war against kleptocracy. I will give Mr. Cardinale his pyrrhic victory. A couple of our constituancies did not do what they said they would…so I created new resources and focused the new resources on Ruth. Our scattered constituancies will be back in common force for the general election.

“It might be better this way and perhaps the people would be better served by a non-partisan supervisor.”

 

THE CANDIDATES

The Riverhead Democratic committee nominated Mr. Cardinale, a former supervisor, to run again for the position he held from 2004 to 2009. He is being challenged by Mr. Fischer of Calverton, who describes himself as a business strategist.

In the Council races, the Democrats nominated Mr. Van Glad of Riverhead, who is a fuel truck driver, and Mr. Williams of Calverton, a retired New York State Police trooper.

Challenging them is Ms. Pollack of Riverhead, who is running as a team with Mr. Fischer. She is an attorney and artist, although her law license is currently suspended.

The Democratic candidates are also endorsed by the Working Families party, so they will be on the November ballot even if they lose the primary. Likewise, Mr. Fischer and Ms. Pollack, along with Mr. Williams, will all be on the November ballot on the newly formed independent Riverhead First line, regardless of the primary result.

Mr. Williams, who accepted the Riverhead Line, despite the fact that it is challenging his Democratic running mates, has recently issued a statement saying he supports the Democratic candidates.

Last Thursday, Mr. Fischer rented the Polish Hall in Riverhead and scheduled a debate between the Democratic candidates. But only Mr. Fischer and Ms. Pollack attended. SEE STORY

tgannon@timesreview.com

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