The challengers seeking seats on the Southold Town Board this Election Day centered their campaigns around the idea that there’s a need for change in a town where all five board members have been elected with Republican support. Don’t vote for the status quo, they urged.
The three incumbents running for re-election countered with a platform of fiscal responsibility and community and environmental preservation.
When all the votes were counted Tuesday, it appeared the public opted to keep things the same for at least two more years.
Incumbent Supervisor Scott Russell was elected to a fourth term over Democratic challenger Damon Rallis, 3,906 to 2,131.
Despite winning with 65 percent of the vote, it was Mr. Russell’s slimmest margin of victory in a re-election campaign, and he thanked his supporters for their help earning him a new four-year term.
“You get behind a candidate and you support him 100 percent of the way,” he said to the Republicans gathered on Election Day at the Soundview restaurant in Greenport. “I can’t thank you enough.”
Mr. Russell, who was first elected to the town’s top post in 2005 after serving more than a decade on the Board of Assessors, said he’ll work to earn the trust voters placed in him during his next term.
Mr. Russell, 51, of Cutchogue called it a “good competitive race on both sides.”
Mr. Rallis, 41, of Mattituck noted that, despite losing, he was proud to have put up a fight and run a “clean campaign.”
“I sent a text to my kid: ‘God’s got a different plan. I’ll figure that out tomorrow,’” he said, adding that he looks forward to spending more time with his family while continuing to hold the Town Board accountable for its actions.
Town Democratic Committee chairman Art Tillman called losing the supervisor race a disappointment, but added that “if we can beat [the Republicans] in two out of seven races, that’s pretty good,” referring to apparent victories for justice and one Trustee seat.
In the race for Town Council, incumbent Republicans Jill Doherty and William Ruland won by large margins over Democratic challengers Albie de Kerillis and Debra O’Kane. Ms. Doherty, 51, of New Suffolk, secured 32 percent of the vote; Mr. Ruland, 67, of Mattituck, received 30 percent; and Mr. DeKerillis, 48, of East Marion, and Ms. O’Kane, 59, of Orient, each had support from about 19 percent of voters.
Assessor Richard Caggiano, 66, of Southold was elected to a second term with 60 percent of the vote against Democratic candidate Linda Goldsmith, 65, of East Marion.
Tax receiver George Sullivan, 71, of Southold won, having run unopposed for a new four-year term. He has held his position for 19 years over two separate stints in office.
With about 6,600 residents casting votes, including absentee ballots, voter turnout was about the same as it was during Mr. Russell’s 2011 re-election campaign, but was down by about 900 votes from the last town election in 2013. Townwide enrollment is down by about 400 registered voters from two years ago.
Top caption: Town Supervisor Scott Russell waves to supporters Tuesday night. (Credit: Paul Squire)