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Aguiar defeats Jens-Smith in Riverhead supervisor race as GOP sweeps

Yvette Aguiar celebrates her victory Tuesday night. (Credit: John Griffin)

In her first run for public office, Republican Yvette Aguiar was elected as Riverhead Town supervisor, defeating incumbent Democrat Laura Jens-Smith.

It was a clean sweep for the GOP, as incumbent Councilman Tim Hubbard and newcomer Frank Beyrodt were also elected to the Town Board.

Unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections show Ms. Aguiar received 54 percent of the votes. Ms. Jens-Smith, who gathered with supporters at Dark Horse Restaurant, conceded shortly after 10:30 p.m.

Ms. Jens-Smith’s tenure as supervisor will end after just one two-year term. She was elected in 2017 and became the first woman to serve as supervisor in Riverhead Town.

Ms. Aguiar, 60, a retired New York Police Department sergeant, made the town’s handling of illegal and overcrowded housing a key campaign issue that resonated with voters.

“I knocked on over 11,000 homes,” Ms. Aguiar said. “I spoke to everyone, I heard everyone loud and clear. We wave the flag, we gave a message and the people have decided that they have chosen me to lead for the next two years. … We’re going to move forward for Riverhead and I’m going to work for my entire community.”

Mr. Hubbard, who was elected to his second full term, was the top vote getter among the council candidates with 29.78% of the votes.

“People voted with their hearts as we ran with our hearts,” Mr. Hubbard said. “So I’m really happy with the outcome and I’m even more happy to come to work on Jan. 1 of 2020 to get this town going in the right direction.”

Mr. Beyrodt narrowly missed winning a spot on the Town Board in 2017 when he finished 128 votes behind Catherine Kent. This time, he garnered 27.6% of the votes to be elected.

“I’m absolutely flabbergasted,” he said. “I think this is bigger and better than I thought it was going to be. And I’m so happy that the people of the town Riverhead had faith in me and I will carry out the job of councilman with the fullest.”

GOP winners Yvette Aguiar, Tim Hubbard and Frank Beyrodt pose for photos during the celebration. (Credit: John Griffin)

In Ms. Jens-Smith’s concession speech, she thanked her supporters and said they had been working hard to make Riverhead a better place.

“We were hoping that they would give us two more years, give me two more years and the team that I’m standing up here with, two more years to be able to keep moving what we had started moving forward. Unfortunately, that is not where we’re at. And so we move on.”

Ms. Jens-Smith, Ms. Kent and some other Democrats stopped by the Republican headquarters to shake Ms. Aguilar’s hand and congratulate her at around 11 pm.

Ms. Tucci finished in third for the Town Board race. She described her first run for public office as “an incredible journey.” She said she would be committed to continue working to help the community.

“I’m not going to be going away,” she said. “I’ve been serving my community for 10 years. And we’ll just be doing so, a little bit harder, from the private sector.”

The Republicans will continue to maintain a majority on the Town Board as now the only Democrat is Ms. Kent.

Republican Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said this election “really concerned” her so she “went out and worked hard for our candidates.”

“I’m happy to see Riverhead remain a strong Republican town and denounce what’s happened on the state level,” she said.

Laura Jens-Smith, right, thanks her supporters as she stands alongside assessor candidate Tara Taylor, left, and council candidate Diane Tucci. (Credit: Mahreen Khan)

Incumbent assessor Mason Haas and Meredith Lipinsky, both Republicans, were both elected.

Lori Hulse ran unopposed for Town justice and received 6,575 votes. Laurie Zaneski ran unopposed for tax receiver and received 6,557 votes. Diane Wilhelm ran unopposed for town clerk and received 5,524 votes.

There are about 250 absentee ballots between the two main parties, according to Republican leader Tammy Robinkoff.

In Southampton Town, incumbent supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a Democrat, easily won reelection with 55 percent of the votes in a three-way race.

County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) received 66 percent of the vote to win reelection in the 1st District. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone won a third term, defeating Republican John Kennedy. Mr. Bellone earned 55% of the votes.

The following numbers are the unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections.


22 of 22 districts

Laura Jens-Smith (D,I,WF): 3,741 votes

Yvette Aguiar (R,C): 4,437 votes


22 of 22 districts

Tim Hubbard (R,C): 4,691 votes

Frank Beyrodt (R,C): 4,352 votes

Diane Tucci (D,I,WF: 3,451 votes

Pat Snyder (D,I,WF): 2,973 votes

William Van Helmond (L): 268 votes



22 of 22 districts

Mason Haas (R,C): 4,723 votes

Meredith Lipinsky (R,C): 4,471 votes

Tara Taylor (D,I,WF): 3,133 votes

Jaraby Thomas (D,I): 2,664 votes