The absentee and affidavit votes are in and counted, and the winner for the Republican nomination for Town Supervisor is…Councilwoman Jodi Giglio.
At the Suffolk County Board of Election headquarters in Yaphank on Monday morning, BOE officials counted 114 paper ballots following a Sept. 10 primary between Supervisor Sean Walter and Ms. Giglio for the Republican nomination for supervisor.
Ms. Giglio — who held a 29-vote lead heading into Monday’s count — took 63 of the votes, while 51 went to Mr. Walter. That leaves Ms. Giglio with 1,148 votes to Mr. Walter’s 1,107.
Twelve ballots were contested; even if all went to Mr. Walter, there wouldn’t be enough votes to make up the difference, sealing Ms. Giglio’s win.
As election officials counted ballots from towns across Suffolk County, the tables set aside for Riverhead were the busiest. Representatives from Mr. Walter’s campaign, including his father, paced behind the tables, checking the tallies against campaign documents.
While the incumbent supervisor had hinted on primary night at calling for a recount, a representative of his campaign said following the paper ballot count that the focus would instead be on Election Day, Nov. 2, and the campaign would not challenge the results of the election.
“It’s going to be a three-way race,” said Dan Pagano, an election attorney with the Walter campaign. “That’s life.”
Ms. Giglio said on Monday that she was unsurprised that the race was so close, though expressed thanks to supporters who helped her get the GOP nod.
“I tried to focus on the issues and not get personal and not talk bad about my opponent,” she said. “And I think that taking the high road is something that voters respect. And I hope politics is moving in that direction — where things that are important to the taxpayers should matter the most.”
Mr. Walter himself pointed to a “vigorous” ad campaign by the Suffolk County Policeman’s Benevolence Association which attacked the sitting supervisor for raising taxes during his tenure. While he ended up on the losing end, he said coming so close was “encouraging for me.”
“I was probably outspent three-to-one between the Suffolk County Police Department and Ms. Giglio, and unfortunately I don’t think the residents understand the strings that come with that money,” he said.
Now, the race will turn to the two sitting politicians and Democrat Anthony Coates.
“To me, it really doesn’t matter, it’s going to be a three-way race,” Mr. Coates said. “I’m running against the failed policies of the past six years … Both the Town Supervisor and Councilwoman Gigilio have their fingerprints all over them.”