Early Voting Over, Campaigns Come to a Head on Election Day

New York’s first year of early voting has come to an end, but right around the corner is the big prize: Tuesday is Election Day, which will decide races for Huntington and Suffolk County positions. 

Two incumbents are running for re-election for Town Board: independent Eugene Cook and Democrat Joan Cergol. Campaigning to join the board are Republican Andre Sorrentino, Democrat Kathleen Cleary, and Libertarian Patrick Deegan. Among the top issues for Town Board candidates is the future of LIPA power plant and the utility’s effort to radically cut its taxes, and downtown zoning and development around town.

Amplified by social media, Sorrentino’s supporters have attacked reports that Sorrentino had faced significant tax liabilities when the state found he and his brother had owed more than $288,000 on their auto repair business in Huntington. Even though Sorrentino readily acknowledged the sales tax liens and warrants, and provided documentation that he had paid off the debts before he announced his run for office, supporters complained that Democrats had played dirty by leaking the information just before the start of early voting, and charged media bias in the reports.

Democrats defended the action by pointing out that Republicans had reported similar tax problems against Tracy Edwards in 2017, when she was running unsuccessfully against Chad Lupinacci for town supervisor.

But as noisy as some of the Town Board campaigns have been, the contest between Suffolk Legislator Susan Berland and challenger Hector Gavilla has been more heated. Competing against each other for the second time in the Suffolk County 16th District, the two have exchanged angry words at several candidate forums, with Gavilla accusing Berland’s husband, Judge Sanford Berland, of assaulting him, and Berland’s family denying the accusation and saying that Gavilla charged them and cursed the legislator. 

Comparatively speaking, the races between Democratic Legislator Tom Donnelly and veterinarian Rebecca Lonardo, and Garrett Chelius against Legislator Dr. William Spencer for the 18th District, have been quiet. The county budget and red-light cameras are among the top issues.

County Executive Steve Bellone is looking for his third term, challenged by Republican County Comptroller John Kennedy.

Two other offices are contested in town. As Town Clerk Jo-Ann Raia prepares to retire after 38 years in office, her son, State Assemblyman Andrew Raia, is looking to replace her, with Democrat Simon Saks challenging him. Deputy Town Clerk Stacy Colamussi, a Repubilcan, is hoping to replace Receiver of Taxes Jillian Guthman.

There is no voting Monday. If you don’t know where to cast a ballot on Election Day, you can find your polling place here. Polls open Tuesday at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

Suffolk Legislative candidates Berland, Donnelly, Spencer; Gavila, Lonardo, Chelius

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