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Top Stories 2019: Town election comes down to the absentee votes

An incumbent councilman was defeated, a new town justice was elected and a 14-year supervisor narrowly held onto his seat in this year’s Southold Town elections.

Councilman Bill Ruland, who was elected in 2007, was ousted from his seat in an contest that was ultimately decided by absentee ballots in late November.

In a four-way race for two open seats on the board, Mr. Ruland led newcomer Sarah Nappa for the second seat by just 47 votes on election night. Ms. Nappa then gained enough absentee votes to finish with 4,103 votes to Mr. Ruland’s 4,022.

Ms. Nappa is the first Democrat in a decade to be elected to the Town Board. She joins incumbent Republican Jill Doherty, who was the top vote-getter with 4,143 votes toward her third term. Democrat Bob Hanlon earned the fewest votes in the race with 3,971.

In the justice race, Democrat Dan Ross defeated incumbent Republican Brian Hughes by just 27 votes.

Republican Supervisor Scott Russell defeated Democratic challenger Greg Doroski by 117 votes. He begins his fifth term in January and indicated that he is not planning to seek a sixth term.

Several seats in the town races went uncontested this year.

Republican Kelly Fogarty ran unopposed for receiver of taxes after longtime tax receiver George Sullivan did not seek re-election. Incumbent town Trustees Glenn Goldsmith and Nick Krupski were also re-elected without a challenge and assessor Rich Caggiano earned a fourth term.

Photo caption: Sarah Nappa was elected to the Southold Town Board. (Credit: Tara Smith/file)