Riverhead fire commissioner race too close to call; Harrigan wins in Wading River

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Riverhead fire headquarters on Roanoake Avenue.

The race for the open commissioner seat in the Riverhead Fire District remains too close to call.

The unofficial election night results — polls closed at 9 p.m. Tuesday — showed John Tradeski Jr. with 328 votes and his rival, James Carey, with 324 votes.

But there were also 14 write-in votes that were not counted in that tally and 11 challenged votes that were also not counted, according the fire district’s secretary, Bob Zaweski.

The write-ins were counted later that night, with Mr. Tradeski picking up three write-in votes and Mr. Carey getting two write-in votes, thus extending Mr. Tradeski’s lead to five votes, 331 to 326.

The other nine write-in votes were blank, Mr. Zaweski said.

Who the challenged voters cast ballots for was not known, he noted.

“We will have to have the county Board of Elections verify that [the voters] were registered,” he said of the challenged votes.

Those votes will be locked in a back room at the commissioners’ office until a meeting at which both candidates could be present with legal representation to go over the challenged votes, he said. That meeting has yet to be scheduled.

Mr. Tradeski and Mr. Carey were both running to fill a five-year term currently held by 20-year incumbent Bill Bilski, who opted not to seek re-election.
Longtime Riverhead firefighter Bill Sanok said 667 total votes cast was good for largest voter turnout he could recall.

The only other contested fire commissioner seat in the area was in the Wading River Fire District, where Mike Harrigan defeated incumbent Matt Wallace by a vote of 131 to 78, officials said.

In Flanders, incumbent Joe Cavaluzzi ran unopposed for a five year-term and David Schasfauer ran unopposed for a two-year term, and both were elected with 28 and 27 votes respectively. Incumbent Bill Thum did not seek re-election.

In Jamesport, incumbent Ed Collins was unopposed and was re-elected with 36 votes.

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