Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst cruised to victory in her reelection bid Tuesday and is expected to lead a new Democratic-Independence majority on the Town Board for the first time in her tenure.
Ms. Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member cross-endorsed by Democrats, received more than 58 percent of ballots cast and held a 2,000-vote lead over her Republican challenger, former Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, with 879 absentee ballots left to be counted, according to unofficial results posted by the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Ms. Throne-Holst will begin her third term as supervisor on January 1.
In the Town Board race, just 250 votes separate the top three candidates for the two council seats on the table, amid robust turnout at the polls, but Republican Stan Glinka and Independence Party member Brad Bender appear poised to win them, finishing with 5,857 votes and 5,746 votes, respectively.
Republican Jeff Mansfield trails Mr. Bender by 143 votes, and Democrat Frank Zappone is 301 votes behind. While they do still carry a mathematical possibility of changing the outcome of those races, the absentee ballots traditionally tend to break at the same ratio as the ballot results, and typically do not change the outcomes of races separated by more than a few dozen votes—a point Southampton Town Democratic Party Chairman Gordon Herr acknowledged early in the evening.
Mr. Glinka was one of three newcomer Republicans to win election Tuesday, with Town Trustee candidates Scott Horowitz and Raymond Overton also winning, while the Independence Party saw all five of its registered members—Ms. Throne-Holst, Mr. Bender, Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and Town Trustee Bill Pell—win election. All five were also endorsed by the Democratic Party, which has pulled nearly even with the Republicans in terms of registered voters.
“The Democratic Party, the last couple elections, has shown itself to be a major force,” Mr. Herr said. “We are going to have a determined effort to get unaffiliated voters to register as Democrats in the next couple years.”
In the 1980s, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in Southampton Town by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. The largest block of voters in the town is now populated by the 2,000-plus registered Independence Party voters and more than 10,000 unaffiliated “blanks.”
Mr. Glinka was brought to tears at times while watching the results appear on the screen at Villa Tuscano in Hampton Bays, embracing his close friend, Andrew Marmusack. “It is the most humbling experience of my life,” Mr. Glinka said. “[Voters] believed in me. Now, I’m ready to produce for them.”
After addressing the dwindling crowd at the restaurant around midnight, Mr. Glinka turned to his running mate, Mr. Mansfield, and said: “Jeff, you better be up there with me, because I don’t want to do this alone. I’m not much of a politician, as many of you know.”
“You are now,” Town Republican Party Chairman Bill Wright called out from the audience.
Mr. Mansfield said he was proud of his campaign, to which he contributed more than $30,000 of his own money, and the showing he drew at the polls as a political newcomer. “I’m proud of my campaign, as a newcomer, an unknown,” Mr. Mansfield said. “Obviously, my message was heard.”
At Democratic headquarters at 230 Elm in Southampton Village, Mr. Bender was similarly grateful for his apparent win and supportive of his running mate, Mr. Zappone.
“There’s a lot of people that worked really hard and did a lot for our team, and I want to thank my husband, Larry, who did my website and my Facebook [page],” Mr. Bender said. “My new best friend, Frank Zappone, who I’ve been able to confide in, and I know that moving forward, will be in Town Hall, whether beside me or beside Anna. I feel fortunate to work with you.”
Mr. Zappone, who has been Ms. Throne-Holst’s deputy supervisor for all four years of her tenure—without accepting the $35,000 salary that comes with the position—said that regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, he expects to continue working in town government. “I’ve been honored to be beside Anna as her deputy supervisor,” he said. “It’s a job worth doing, it’s a job I enjoy doing. I don’t do this because it is something I have to do. It’s not a career for me, it’s an avocation.”
Ms. Throne-Holst was elected to her third term as supervisor, while Ms. Kabot, who lives in Quogue, suffered her third defeat at the polls—all to the current supervisor.
“I love this job, I love serving the Town of Southampton, I am proud of the work we’ve done over the last four years, I’m proud of us setting the financial ship straight for this town, but also being there for every corner of our town,” Ms. Throne-Holst said with three of her four children at her side.
“And I think tonight’s win speaks to that: We’ve genuinely been there to help, we’ve been there to make a difference. There is no issue, no problem, no goal that is too small. We have a track record of that, and that’s what we ran, and that’s why I have the good fortune to stand here tonight.”
On January 1, with the departure of Republican Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Conservative Councilman Jim Malone, and the apparent ascension of Mr. Bender, Ms. Throne-Holst will become the first non-Republican supervisor to preside over a friendly majority of the board since Fred Thiele and a third-party coalition controlled the board in the early 1990s. She was optimistic on Tuesday night that her administration will lead a coalition in which politics will not interfere with governance.
“We’ve put the politics aside to be real public servants and that’s what we’re all united in,” she said. “I want everyone who didn’t vote for me to know it makes no difference to me. The party politics don’t matter to me. I’m here to be a public servant. I love my job and I’m so honored to have two more years to work at it.”
Her foe, Ms. Kabot, was resigned early on in her third loss to Ms. Throne-Holst.
“I’m proud of this team, we put up the good fight,” Ms. Kabot said as the number of election districts outstanding dwindled and Ms. Throne Holst’s lead held fast. “We created the buzz and excitement and record turnout in Southampton. We need to be proud about that.
“There is a saying, ‘There is no dishonor in losing when you step up and offer your courage,’” she continued. “There is no honor in not trying and there is a certain trying in doing your best.”