Tom Schiliro, the Democratic candidate for the Second New York State Assembly District in the Nov. 4 election, will now also be the Independence Party candidate, if the results of Tuesday’s primary hold up.
Mr. Schiliro defeated incumbent Republican Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo by 12 votes, but a Suffolk County Board of Elections official said absentee ballots still need to be tallied, which will be done next week. Mr. Schiliro said he believes there are only about a dozen absentee ballots.
The Independence party didn’t endorse a specific candidate for the Second District, which covers Southold and Riverhead Towns, along with part of Brookhaven Town, and instead left it up to voters to choose between Mr. Schiliro, of Manorville, and Mr. Palumbo, of New Suffolk.
The unofficial vote tally reported by the BOE showed Mr. Schiliro with 126 votes and Mr. Palumbo with 114.
Only people registered with the Independence party were allowed to vote in the primary.
According to state Board of Election statistics from April, the Second Assembly district has 4,929 people registered with the Independence party. That puts the party a distant fourth, behind Republicans (33,500), unaffiliated voters (24,958) and Democrats (24,555).
Conservatives rank fifth, with 2,618, and the Working Families party is sixth, with 424 registered voters.
Mr. Schiliro, who is a sergeant in the Suffolk County Park Police and a criminal justice instructor at Suffolk Community College, will now have the backing of the Democratic, Independent and Working Family parties.
Mr. Palumbo, who was elected in a special election last year after the previous Assemblyman stepped down, will have the Republican and Conservative lines.
“It’s important,” Mr. Schiliro said in an interview Wednesday discussing the primary results. “It shows that voters can really make a decision on who they truly believe in, using the independence of a particular candidate. My campaign is based on that. We’re really only talking about issues and talking to the people directly. We seek to represent the average working man and woman.”
Mr. Palumbo issued the following statement Wednesday night:
“I am currently down 12 votes, but 49 absentee ballots are outstanding. My opponent has run for office several times and had a lot of the New York City Democrat’s money for this primary. I did not have the Independence Line last year when I ran and won, but either way, the next few days should be interesting.”