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Nov 4, 2008 11:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Pope, Schiavoni score wins for Dems

Nov 4, 2008 11:38 PM

Southampton Town Democrats posted stunning victories on Tuesday, with Sally Pope snatching a Town Board seat away from Republican Dan Russo, and Andrea Schiavoni upsetting veteran Town Justice Thomas DeMayo to capture a seat on the Town Justice Court.

On Tuesday night, after preliminary results were reported by the Suffolk County Board of Elections, the Republican candidates said the races remained too close to call, and both Mr. Russo and Mr. DeMayo declined to concede until absentee ballots have been counted on Wednesday, November 12. But with nearly 2,400 absentee ballots yet to be counted, the town justice race appears settled: The Suffolk County Board of Elections lists Ms. Schiavoni leading Mr. DeMayo by a margin of 2,822 votes, 12,263 to 9,441, or a margin of 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent.

In the race for Southampton Town Board, Ms. Pope had a smaller lead of 740 votes, 11,056-10,316, tallying 51.7 percent to Mr. Russo’s 48.2 percent.

As of Wednesday morning, the Board of Elections reported a total of 2,391 absentee ballots uncounted, with 806 of those Democrat, 872 Republicans, 104 Independence, 28 Conservative, 4 Working Families, and 577 blank.

“The absentee ballots tend to mirror election night,” Town Democratic Chairman Mike Anthony noted. The final number of absentee ballots could be higher because the deadline for their receipt is November 12, with a November 17 deadline for military ballots. To be valid, absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 3.

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot, a Republican, expressed confidence that Mr. Russo would ultimately defeat Ms. Pope. Ms. Kabot admitted she did not expect the absentee ballots to deliver Justice DeMayo a victory over Ms. Schiavoni.

“I’m forever amazed and encouraged by the peaceful transitions of power within our towns and states and country,” Ms. Schiavoni said. “And I’m looking forward to doing my best for the people of Southampton.”

If Ms. Pope does win enough absentee ballots to keep her lead over Mr. Russo, she would become the second non-Republican on the Town Board. Nevertheless, Mr. Russo remained confident on Tuesday night. “This is not over,” he told the GOP faithful at an election night party at Villa Tuscano in Hampton Bays shortly after the polls closed on Tuesday. “I expect to win.”

The sole non-Republican on the Town Board, Democrat Anna Throne-Holst, said she was prepared to work with Ms. Pope if the results held, but added she would also miss the working relationship she had forged with Mr. Russo. “I will do everything I can to help Sally and I look forward to a strong and purposeful partnership should she prevail,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “But, this town owes Dan a great debt of gratitude for the efforts and accomplishments he has made as a member of this Town Board in a short period of time. I commend him for his many contributions and for being such a devoted public servant.”

On Tuesday, Justice DeMayo said he “would wait and see what happens” as the outstanding ballots are counted. “We can’t concede,” said Helen Lawrence Wintermyer, Justice DeMayo’s campaign manager.

Ms. Schiavoni, who ran an unsuccessful bid for town justice last year, said she was too overwhelmed with emotion to put how she felt into words.

Ms. Pope said she was in Hampton Bays earlier in the day and that many people told her she was going to win. “I don’t know how they knew, but they did,” Ms. Pope said. “Now it’s time to get down to work and be the board member the voters expect me to be.”

Mr. Anthony credited a “great team” on the ground with the win. “Obama helped, but our candidates worked real hard and ran a great campaign,” he said. Townwide, nearly 68 percent of registered voters voted for president, and nearly 60 percent of registered voters cast their ballots in local races.

According to the BOE, 8,592 more votes were cast this year in Southampton Town than in 2007. Though the high voter turnout has been tied to the coattails of President-Elect Barack Obama, voter turnout was actually less than in 2004: 27,452 votes were cast by Southampton voters for president that year, while 25,172 were cast this year. In the 2004 presidential contest, Senator John Kerry beat President George W. Bush 53 percent to 46 percent locally; this year, Senator Obama defeated his GOP challenger, Senator John McCain, 55 percent to 43 percent.

In the 2007 race for Southampton Town supervisor, only 13,849 votes were cast out of 35,304 registered, with Ms. Kabot winning by less than 1 percent, or 53 votes.

According to local Democratic activist Lisa Votino-Tarrant, turnout on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation was at an all-time high of 80 percent.

Around 10:30 on Tuesday night, at the Southampton GOP election night party, Southampton Republican Committee Chairman Marcus Stinchi took the microphone to announce that the local Republicans were “caught in the crossfire of Barack Obama.” Mr. Stinchi was accounting for the fact that early returns did not bode well for Justice DeMayo or Mr. Russo.

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Stinchi's got it wrong again; the Republicans didn't get caught in the crossfire of Barack Obama, they got caught in the crossfire of George Bush.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 5, 08 8:06 AM
By TOMCAT (1), SOUTHAMPTON on Nov 5, 08 8:17 AM
So it could not have been the 5% (max allowed) Tax increase the Repubs just shoved down the Towns throat that cost them the election? Marcus Stinchi and Helen Lawrence Wintermeyer should do the math and concede the loss. But if our Town leaders had been doing the math we would not have the tax increase and MANY other problems. Years of Republican mismanagement in the Town have brought us to this point and it is funny now to see them holding on to their petty delusions of victory and accomplishment ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 5, 08 9:11 AM
remenber the bankruptcy bill remenber katrina there are people proability still living in shelters remenber gas prices going through the roof, the republicans did nonthing about .Now we have the Economy mess why do we have all these problems because of the republicans were in charge. Out here on L.I we hear about lowering taxes insted if the tax payer is late he is charged eleven point five percent fee .The voters need to do some house cleaning out here next
By jdpril20 (3), selden on Nov 5, 08 10:07 AM
Yes, it appears true. Mismanagement in the past by a Republican dominated town hall is being revisited on the current crop of candidates. Mr. Russo has publicly exclaimed his admiration for the prior Southampton Town Supervisor's management of the town - the same administration that got us into this mess. Remember that insanity is often defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result. Ultimately most of the voters saw that and rejected Mr. Russo's argument that he was "different."
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Nov 5, 08 10:34 AM
Congratulations to the Dems. Let's take back town hall!
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Nov 5, 08 10:59 AM
Now that the election is over can someone clean up the center of Hampton Bays Main St? There are too many emply stores. How about getting a few new stores other than nail salons and real estates. We need some upscale shops where neighbors and vacationers can shop and brouse.
By love the beach (1), hampton bays on Nov 5, 08 11:03 AM
Very sad if we cast a vote for a candidate just because of party. It should be soley on their merit. I for one am glad to see both sides representated on the town board and sad that we don't see the same on a national level. Think of government as the eagle..you need two strong wings to fly.

As far as the comment from "love the beach"...I doubt you will see upscale shops in Hampton Bays. The outlet center in Riverhead drained on all small retail businesses along with the economy. ...more
By BeachGal12 (8), Hampton Bays on Nov 6, 08 10:07 AM
This was a tsunami brought on by "W"

While Andrea Schiavoni ran a great campaign, Pope didn't. The dems could have elected a peanut butter and jelly sandwish to that spot.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 6, 08 11:00 AM
You can't blame Obama for everything. Perhaps Russo didn't campaign hard enough. He should have taken into account the national mood and addressed that. His final ads that tried to pull a switcheroo and say TRUST DAN (as Sally's motto was TRUST SALLY) were a bad idea, putting him in the position of underdog as a front-running incumbent should usually ignore the advertising of an insurgent. Why play on an underdog's ads? An underdog is supposed to be treated as less qualified. That, and the Independence ...more
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Nov 10, 08 9:50 AM
Dan had 10 months to prove himself on the town board. He did nothing. So the moral of this story: nothing gets you nothing, and never put your face on a Giant Bill Boards unless you are doing an under-wear ad in Times Square. As they are saying in town "he was Anna's toy and Skippy's Boy". His ads were Trust Dan, experienced proven leadership. Give me a break. Russo lied on his mailer, he is not from this community. I think Sally will do an excellent job on the Town Board. Dan you can go ...more
By real town resident (4), hampton bays on Nov 12, 08 6:46 PM
Actually, Dan worked very hard. And one must remember that the Democrats held the majority on the Town Board for four of the past eight years. And if one does the research, that is when the bulk of the spending, that is now coming back to haunt, was authorized.
On another site, I saw an opinion piece of interest. If the town leaders in East Hampton, Southampton and Southold are serious about cutting spending, they should give up their free cars and free gas. Taxpayers are paying for gas and ...more
By Hampton (50), Westhampton on Nov 18, 08 9:31 AM
I am a Republican and even I did not vote for Dan Russo. (Does that make me a maverick?? ha ha......)
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 18, 08 3:10 PM