By Desirée Keegan
In a landslide victory, Suffolk County will have a new district attorney, and with that a new chief of police.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini (D) defeated Ray Perini (R) with 62.08 percent of the vote in the Nov. 7 general election. Perini, who came up with 106,773 votes, ran a contentious campaign against Sini, who campaigned as a reformer hoping to restore reliability to the office.
“Together we have ushered in a new era of criminal justice in Suffolk County, an era of integrity, fairness and doing the right thing,” Sini told supporters at his campaign headquarters in Hauppauge. “We are going to return the office to the honorable institution it once was.”
With Sini’s victory, he will leave his post at the start of 2018, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) will appoint a new police commissioner.
“I will immediately begin to assemble a top-notch transition team consisting of local and federal officials,” Sini continued. “This team will conduct a thorough top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top assessment of the office and we will do whatever it takes to ensure the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office works for the people. Under my administration, the office will work for the people and not politics. For far too long this office has been used as a tool for those who are politically connected. That ends today.”
The race for the new sheriff in town was too close to call at the end of election night, with Democrat Errol Toulon, a former New York City deputy corrections commissioner, holding a slim lead over Republican Larry Zacarese, an assistant police chief at Stony Brook University. The last update from the Suffolk County Board of Election’s unofficial results showed Toulon had 141,006 votes to Zacarese’s 139,652.
Toulon said he believes he will maintain his advantage.
“I feel very confident,” he said from the IBEW Local 25 building in Hauppauge. “I feel incredibly overwhelmed with the support considering I have only been in this race for five-and-a-half weeks, and the people of Suffolk County recognize they want someone with experience, and I feel confident that when the absentee ballots are counted I will be sheriff of Suffolk County.”
Zacarese said he knew it was down to the wire, and couldn’t wait to see the results once the 15,000 absentee ballots are counted.
“For anybody here who knows me, you know I don’t do anything the easy way, so what else did you expect?” he said. “This is far from over. We’re going to get to work starting tomorrow.”
Incumbents swept Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town in TBR News Media’s coverage area on election night.
In the most contested legislative race on the North Shore, incumbent 6th District Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) edged out Rocky Point resident and local business owner Gary Pollakusky to secure her fourth term. After winning by 17 votes in the 2015 election, Anker finished the evening with 10,985 (54.93 percent) votes to Pollakusky’s 9,004 (45.03 percent).
“We had such an amazing victory, and this shows you all the hard work that I do, that my office does,” Anker said. “This is what we do — we are public servants. We work for the people. The people make a decision to vote and it’s a victory for everyone. There are so many initiatives and projects that I started and I want to continue with.”
Pollakusky thanked the members of his team for their hard work in putting together what he called a “great campaign.”
“Blood sweat and tears,” he said went into his preparation for election night. “Really, we ran a great race.”
In the 5th District, Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) is looking forward to continuing her environmental work. She came through with 63.39 percent of the vote, defeating challenger Ed Flood, who finished with 36.56 percent of the vote.
“I love our community, and I work hard every day to make a difference and to help people,” Hahn said. “I’m just thrilled to be able to continue to do that.”
Returnee Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) claimed her second term in office at the helm of the 12th District with an overwhelming 67.40 percent of the vote to challenger Kevin Hyms’ 32.55 percent.
Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) was in a race that nearly doubled in turnout total from the last time he ran. With 61.9 percent of the vote, the longtime politician secured his seventh and eighth year as the head of the town.
“Thank you to all of the voters in Brookhaven,” he said from Stereo Garden LI in Patchogue. “Thank you for the overwhelming mandate for myself and all those who ran with us. We got the message. We’re going to keep on making sure that taxes stay low, we’re going to keep on moving Brookhaven forward, we’re going to keep on doing the right thing.”
Councilwomen Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) and Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) also secured their seats.
Cartright, representing the 1st District, won with 60.3 percent of the vote to Republican James Canale’s 39.66 percent.
“I am just extremely humbled and honored to have been given this amazing opportunity,” Canale said. “I may have lost, but you can not keep me down. I will be back and I will be better than ever.”
Bonner, representing the 2nd District, said she was happy with her win. She pulled away with 63.54 percent of the vote to Coram resident and software developer Mike Goodman’s 36.43 percent.
In the town’s 3rd Council District, Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) lauded what he called “amazing results” (65.53 percent of the votes).
“Well I guess the word is out — good Republican government is back in Brookhaven,” LaValle said. “I look back at this town board — this is a great team we have here with supervisor Romaine, highway superintendent [Dan] Losquadro — this is a team that’s going to get the job done and has gotten the job done for the residents of Brookhaven.”
Losquadro (R) maintained his highway superintendent title, securing 60.32 percent of the votes to Democratic challenger Anthony Portesy’s 39.65 percent. Donna Lent (I) will remain town clerk with a 57.26 to 42.7 percent win over Democrat Cindy Morris.
Lent said of the results, “when you run on your record and you run on your integrity you always win.”
Rita J. Egan and Alex Petroski contributed reporting