Waiting is the hardest part.
The Democratic primary to decide who will face freshman U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) in the race for the 1st Congressional District seat in November was June 28, but as of print time on Wednesday, Zeldin’s opponent was still a mystery.
The former town supervisor in Southampton Anna Throne-Holst led Setauket native and former prosecutor and venture capitalist David Calone by just 29 votes when the dust settled on election night. More than a week later, it’s still unclear who will come out on top.
There are about 1,800 absentee ballots that haven’t been counted — roughly 15 percent of the overall vote
The Suffolk County Board of Elections will begin counting the 1,794 absentee ballots cast on Thursday, though a department employee said that process might take several days. The absentee ballots will be counted by a bipartisan team of department employees in addition to representatives from both campaigns at the Board of Elections office in Yaphank.
In emailed statements from their campaigns, both candidates expressed confidence about what the tally will hold after all the votes are counted and thanked their supporters for their hard work to date.
“I’m proud to be in the lead after election night, and am most especially proud of the positive campaign we ran,” Throne-Holst said through a press representative. “I owe a heartfelt debt of gratitude to our thousands of supporters and volunteers, who are invaluable partners in getting our message to voters.”
Calone said he has high hopes thanks to the nearly nonexistent deficit.
“Given that there are about 1,800 absentee ballots that haven’t been counted — roughly 15 percent of the overall vote — no one knows who will end up on top until we count every vote,” Calone said in a statement. “More than anything, I’m grateful to Democrats around the district who volunteered to help my campaign.”
Neither candidate hesitated to turn their sites toward Zeldin.
“I expect to prevail once every vote is counted and I look forward to continuing our campaign to provide a strong contrast to Congressman Lee Zeldin, who is one of Donald Trump’s greatest advocates in Washington,” Calone said.
Throne-Holst also invoked presumptive Republican presidential nominee and businessman Donald Trump in referring to Zeldin.
“I look forward to working with Democrats throughout the district as we focus on our common goal of defeating Lee Zeldin,” she said. “We all know Lee Zeldin is not looking forward to going up against my record, and voters will reject not only his extremist views and votes, but also his enthusiastic embrace of Donald Trump, who is dangerous for both Long Island and the country.”
At the end of the night on June 28, unofficial results showed Throne-Holst with 5,446 votes — 50.09 percent of the vote — and Calone with 5,417 votes — 49.82 percent.
Zeldin unseated six-term former U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D) by a wide margin back in 2014, with a final vote total of 54 percent to 45 percent.
Check back next week for an update and results, should the counting be complete.