Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (R-Baiting Hollow) hold strong leads in in-person vote tallies in the First Senate District and Second Assembly district, respectively.

Candidates for local state legislative districts are not declaring victory despite unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections showing both of them with significant leads in in-person voting.

“I’m thrilled with where we are, but it’s not over,” State Senate candidate and incumbent Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) said this morning.

With the 129,843 in-person ballots cast in the First Senate District race counted, Palumbo leads Democrat Laura Ahearn 57% to 43%, by a margin of 18,735 votes.

But there are at least 36,385 absentee ballots that haven’t yet been counted in the race — and that number could swell by another 16,000 absentee votes if all the absentee ballots requested by voters in the district are returned to the Board of Elections. The 38,385 number does not include ballots dropped off at polling places on Election Day, or ballots dropped off at the Board of Elections from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, according to Suffolk County Commissioner of Elections Nick Lalota. Ballots returned by mail on pr before Nov. 10 will be counted if postmarked by Nov. 3.

Ahearn did not return a call seeking comment.

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio (R-Baiting Hollow), who wants to succeed Palumbo in the Second Assembly District, also said declaring victory would be premature because of the large number of absentee ballots that remain to be counted.

“I’m not declaring victory until every vote has been counted,” Giglio said today.

Giglio leads Democrat Laura Jens-Smith of Laurel 62% to 36%, by a margin of 14,354 votes out of 54,224 in-person votes cast. Libertarian candidate William Van Helmond of Jamesport trails with just 730 votes (1.33% of the total votes cast). There were four write-in votes.’

There were 14,485 absentee ballots int he Second Assembly District race received by the Board of Elections as of yesterday, which have not yet been counted. Another 6,146 absentee ballots are still outstanding.

Jens-Smith said in an interview today she believes the race is over. “The absentees are not enough to change the final outcome,” she said.

“Obviously it’s disappointing,” said Jens-Smith, who served one term as Riverhead Town supervisor. “It’s disappointing for all all of Suffolk County,” she said.

“We didn’t get our message out the way we should have. We didn’t
mobilize our base enough to get to the polls,” Jens-Smith said. “We need to regroup to assess things.”

Democrats are trailing in eight of Suffolk’s 12 Assembly District races, before absentee votes are tallied. Among them are three Democratic incumbents, including 15-term Assemblyman Steve Englebright of Setauket in the Fourth Assembly District. Republican challenger Michael Ross leads Englebright 52% to 37%, by a margin of 1,967 votes out of 43,965 in-person votes cast. A fourth Democratic incumbent, Steve Stern of Huntington, is in a dead heat with Republican challenger Jamie Silvestri.

Republicans are leading in four of the five contested State Senate races in Suffolk. Incumbent Democratic senators Monica Martinez (SD-4) and James Gaughran SD-5 are both trailing their Republican challengers.

There was one uncontested State Senate race in Suffolk. Democratic candidate James Brooks ran unopposed in SD-8 after his Republican opponent was removed from the ballot in a legal challenge.

“Generally speaking, the policies of one-party rule were pretty resoundingly rejected outside New York City,” Palumbo said this morning. “People want balance,” he said. “People don’t want to have one party dictating everything.”

“On Long Island, the vote is I think a testimonial to how the anti-law enforcement sentiment is not what Long Islanders want,” he said. “People very concerned about law and order and safety,” he said.

“It turned out the ‘blue wave’ was a law enforcement issue,” Palumbo said.

Palumbo said in his seven years in the assembly “the big fight” has always been about where the state’s money gets spent. With New York City elected officials dominating the legislature, those decisions often have not reflected the interests of the suburbs, he said. Long Islanders are very concerned about property taxes, where New York City residents are not, he said.

Giglio agreed. “It’s important to maintain a voice in the Assembly for towns outside of New York City,” she said and vowed to immediately work to repeal “that crazy bail reform law.”

Like Palumbo, she complained about unfunded state mandates that require local governments to spend money to accomplish the state’s directives.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.