Democrat Julie Lofstad of Hampton Bays handily defeated Republican Richard Yastrzemski in a special election Tuesday to claim the Southampton Town council seat that had been vacant since late last year when Brad Bender resigned following his arrest on drug charges.
The unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections show Ms. Lofstad winning by a 2,771 to 1,721 margin, winning 62 percent of the vote. Ms. Lofstad had the backing of the Democrat, Independence and Conservative parties, while Mr. Yastrzemski only had the Republican line.
Both Ms. Lofstad and Mr. Yastrzemski had run unsuccessfully in last fall’s general election, when Ms. Lofstad ran for council and Mr. Yastrzemski for supervisor.
The win gives the candidates who ran with Democratic support a 3-2 majority on the board, as Supervisor Jay Schneiderman of Southampton, who is a registered Independence Party member, and Councilman John Bouvier of Westhampton were elected in November.
“I want to thank everybody,” Ms. Lofstad said. “The campaign team was just fabulous…I guess my first question is, Boss, what time do I report to work tomorrow?”
Ms. Lofstad, who thanked her supporters at Buckley’s Inn Between restaurant in Hampton Bays after the win, will actually begin her term immediately once the win is certified by the Board of Elections.
“If you’ve ever seen a mandate, this is a mandate,” Mr. Schneiderman said of the results. “Almost a two-to-one victory.”
Having a majority on the Town Board was important, Mr. Schneiderman said.
“This is a critical election for me and it was going to determine whether I had a majority or not,” he said. “Julie I consider a teammate. We endorsed the same plan for Southampton and now we can move that plan forward.”
Photo caption: Julie Lofstad, center, celebrates her victory with Councilman John Bouvier, right, and County Legislator Bridget Fleming, left (Credit: Tim Gannon).