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Nov 14, 2008 4:58 PMPublication: The Southampton Press


Nov 14, 2008 4:58 PM

A recount and the tally of absentee ballots has confirmed that Democrat Sally Pope will take the oath of office on January 1 as the newest member of the Southampton Town Board. The election of Andrea Schiavoni, the Democratic candidate for town justice, also was finalized.

The results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections are now official: Including a mandatory machine recount from election night and the tallying of some 3,000 absentee ballots, Ms. Pope will become the second Democrat to sit on the Town Board, and Ms. Schiavoni will become the second Democrat on the town bench.

According to numbers provided by Board of Elections Commissioner Anita Katz on Saturday, Ms. Pope, a first-time office seeker from Remsenburg, defeated Mr. Russo, an East Quogue resident who was appointed to the Town Board in February, by 832 votes in the final tally. A total of 11,025 Democrats cast votes for Ms. Pope, along with 1,009 Independence Party members, and 548 Working Families Party members, for a total of 12,582 votes. Mr. Russo’s total of 11,750 votes included 10,269 Republican votes and 1,481 from Conservatives.

Ms. Pope said it was now time to get to work and “be the Town Board member I was voted in to be.”

An attorney who has lived in Remsenburg for the past 25 years, Ms. Pope succeeded in her first run at elective office. She has had her own mediation practice for the past 25 years representing government entities, schools, businesses and condominium associations. Before that, Ms. Pope worked as a corporate attorney on Wall Street and in the media and publishing industries. She has served on the board of the Remsenburg Association and the Board of Trustees of Family Counseling Services of Westhampton Beach.

Ms. Pope has also been employed as an adjunct professor with Hofstra University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She has also taught mediation programs at Southampton College and for Catholic Charities of Nassau County.

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, she earned her master’s degree from Cornell University and her law degree from the University of Michigan.

Ms. Schiavoni won a seat on the bench by a commanding 3,257-vote margin, with a total of 13,974 votes to incumbent Republican Thomas DeMayo’s 10,717. The Democrat from Sag Harbor, who ran unsuccessfully for town justice in 2007, collected 11,733 votes from registered Democrats, 1,462 from Independence voters, and 599 from Working Families voters. Mr. DeMayo’s 10,717 votes included 9,392 from Republicans and 1,325 from Conservatives.

The initial tally on Election Night, Tuesday, November 4, had Ms. Pope ahead of incumbent Mr. Russo by 740 votes for the seat on the Town Board. The town justice race had been all but decided, as Ms. Schiavoni had posted a 2,822-vote margin after the initial tally, making the recount and tally of absentee ballots simply official confirmation of her Election Day victory.

Some 3,000 absentee ballots were sent out for Southampton Town, with roughly an even split among Democrats and Republicans, and 781 with the affiliation left blank.

Both challengers rode a Democratic Party wave at the national level to upset their incumbent Republican rivals in last week’s general election. Democratic Committee Chairman Mike Anthony said President-elect Barack Obama’s coattails contributed to the significant Democratic year, but added that both his candidates ran excellent campaigns.

“I don’t want to take anything away from our candidates,” Mr. Anthony said. “We had a great team working very hard.”

Southampton GOP Chairman Marcus Stinchi could not be reached for comment, although he too on Election Night pointed to the sweeping Democratic wave. “We were caught in 
the crossfire of Barack Obama,” he said.

To be valid, absentee ballots had to be received by the Suffolk County Board of Elections by November 12, so long as those ballots were postmarked no later than November 3. The deadline for the 46 military absentee ballots to be received was November 17.

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Congratulations, Sally and Andrea! Perhaps with some Dems in office we can actually get some work done for the everyday people of our community. Glad to see the revolution of hope has finally touched our once Republican stronghold of ignorance and fear.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Nov 16, 08 12:38 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By real town resident (4), hampton bays on Nov 16, 08 7:01 PM
One can only hope that the prior comment is true as Dan Russo did represent the common citizen. He was the underdog, listened and acted. I hope that he runs when another postion opens up, he did an alwful lot, during his one year especillay with code enforcement cleaning up the over crowed housing blight in our communities. Hopefully MS Pope will be just as effective only time will tell.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 17, 08 6:30 AM
Good Riddens to Dan Russo! Start packing Dan!
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 17, 08 12:50 PM
North Sea,

Russo acted for special interests in the time that he was there. The guy did absoulety nothing. He was given a gift and didn't take anything seriously. He is a disgrace. What did he do for code enforcement that hasnt been done previously??? We need people that care about our community to run for town board. Russo lives with his mommy and has no vested interest in the town. One should own property before they even think about running for elected positions. North Sea citizen ...more
By real town resident (4), hampton bays on Nov 17, 08 6:36 PM
Mr.Russo was particularly ungracious in his election eve comments. It may have inadvertently revealed his true character. The face he put on to the public during the campaign certainly did not seem real to me either. It sounded so much like sour grapes that one has to wonder how he can even consider another run after two successive defeats by the voters at the polls.
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Nov 22, 08 2:26 PM
I am a Republican and I didnt vote for Russo.
By Sam (252), Westhampton Beach on Nov 23, 08 7:43 AM
Care to document that claim, foodie? Where was he "ungracious"?
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 24, 08 1:44 PM