By Kevin Redding
Smithtown’s incumbents appear to have won the Sept. 12 Republican town board primary, but there are absentee ballots to be counted and the challengers aren’t backing down.
Councilwoman Lynne Nowick (R) has come out on top in the four-candidate race with 2,929 votes while Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) followed with 2,833 votes. Coming in third and fourth were challengers Bob Doyle (R) with 2,575 votes and Thomas Lohmann (R) with 2,543 votes, respectively, according to unofficial Suffolk County Board of Elections results posted Sept. 13.
“With Nowick and McCarthy, there are a number of absentees out,” said Bill Ellis, the Smithtown Republican Committee chairman. “I think Lynne Nowick will prevail, [but] there’s still an opportunity for Doyle and Lohmann to surpass McCarthy. It’s a bit of a long shot, but it’s a possibility.”
Nick LaLota, Republican commissioner for the county board of elections, said there are 322 absentee ballots as of Sept. 13. He said he expects the county may still receive a few dozen additional ballots over the next week. Absentee ballots must have be postmarked by Sept. 11 and received by the county by Sept. 19 to be valid.
Nowick, who was first elected to the board in 2013 and has served as an elected official for 22 years, has focused her bid for re-election on keeping taxes low, getting sewers into downtown areas like Kings Park and St. James, and maintaining Smithtown’s quality of life including its parks, beaches and roads.
“I, of course, am very happy to have been so successful,” Nowick said, of the town council results. “I think a lot of that success was that Councilman McCarthy and I worked for the town and cared for the town. When you’re here a lot of years and you’ve helped a lot of constituents along the way, make no mistake, constituent services are very important. When you help people for many years, it resonates.”
She said her sights are now set on the Nov. 7 election with plans to utilize the same campaign strategy.
“Look, this is what we’ve accomplished, this is who we are, and that is what we’ll run on in November,” Nowick said.
McCarthy, deputy town supervisor who has been on the town board since 1998 and, if re-elected, said he looks forward to continuing his service to Smithtown residents alongside Nowick.
“I’m pleased that the voters saw fit to elect me,” McCarthy said. “It proves that all the hard work we do on a daily basis is appreciated and we appreciate their votes. We’ve had so many good initiatives that I’m happy to have championed over the last four years.”
The councilman has spearheaded multiple projects to revitalize the downtown areas — most recently pushing the infrastructure rebuilding of Lake Avenue in St. James and working to develop sewers with $40 million in state funds.
Doyle, a retired Suffolk homicide detective from Nesconset, and Lohmann, a former New York City police officer from Smithtown, ran on similar agendas to restore the town’s former glory, including its infrastructure, and create a more transparent board.
Despite being disappointed in the results and low-voter turnout, both challengers said they have every intention of continuing to run on the Independent and Conservative party lines in November.
“I am encouraged by the numbers and how well Tom Lohmann and I did against two very powerful incumbents,” Doyle said. “I’m looking forward to Election Day and taking our message to all of the voters in the Town of Smithtown. We truly believe we will be victorious in November. The fight has just begun.”
Lohmann echoed the sentiment.
“I plan to go forward with my quest into the general election and we’ll let the people decide,” Lohmann said. “I’ve never walked away from anything in my life, and I’m not starting now.”