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Overton, Burke-Gonzalez Win Seats on the Town Board

Incumbent Republican Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione comes in fourth in the town board race.

Larry Cantwell, center, with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, right, and Steve Tekuslky, Town Justice Elect at Rowdy Hall on Tuesday. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey
Larry Cantwell, center, with Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, right, and Steve Tekuslky, Town Justice Elect at Rowdy Hall on Tuesday. Credit: Taylor K. Vecsey
Republican candidate Fred Overton and Democratic candidate Kathee Burke-Gonzalez will join Supervisor Elect Larry Cantwell on the East Hampton Town Board in 2014.

With 19 out of 19 districts reporting machine votes in, Overton was the highest vote-getter, receiving 3,216, or just over 28.2 percent of the vote, while Burke-Gonzalez received 3,125 or 27.4 percent of the vote.

Democratic candidate Job Potter received 2,761, or 24.24 percent, votes and Republican incumbent Councilman Dominick Stanzione had received 2,293 votes, or 20.11 percent.

The town board, currently a Republican majority, will now be composed of four Democrats and one Republican.

"This is a bit surreal to me," Burke-Gonzalez said to supporters at Rowdy Hall, Democratic headquarters on Tuesday night. She got choked up speaking about how her win was a testament that it is possible to achieve a dream. 

Potter said Burke-Gonzalez was a great running mate, who "fully deserves to win," he said, adding a congratulations to Overton.

"I'm not going anywhere, you'll see me," said Potter, who previously served on the town board. "I'll work on the campaign in two years."

The results do not include absentee ballots, of which there are about 1,100, according to Chris Kelly, the Democratic campaign chairman.

"Kathee will end up with the highest number of votes," when the absentees are counted, Kelly said from Democratic headquarters at Rowdy Hall in East Hampton Village. More Democrats voted by absentee this year than Republicans, he said.

Supervisor Race

There was no surprise in the town supervisor race, as Larry Cantwell ran unopposed on the Democratic and Independence tickets. He received 4,802 votes, 98.22 percent of the vote.

There were 87 write-ins. Martin Drew, a Springs resident, ran a small write-in campaign, which he began toward the end of October. Exactly how many votes he received remains to be seen, as the board of elections won't have those results for a week or so.

With no race for town supervisor, there was very low voter turnout at the polls, Kelly said. In 2011, when Democrat challenger Zachary Cohen ran against incumbent Republican Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, about 7,000 voted, including absentees. There were only about 5,800 votes cast at the machines this year, though absentee ballots from Democrats was higher than usual.

Also attributing the low turnout, Kelly said was the fact that the town board majority was already essentially decided before the election — Democrats would have a majority just with Cantwell joining Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc.

"I fully expected to have a competitive race," Cantwell said, and though the Republicans fielded no viable candidates, "It hasn't stopped me from working hard and campaigning."

This year's election was a far cry from that supervisor race between Wilkinson and Cohen in 2011, which was too close to call on election night. Ultimately, Cohen lost by 15 votes. Cohen made a push for the Democratic nomination again this year, but withdrew his candidacy after the screening committee recommended Cantwell, who already had the support of the Independence party.

Despite winning the Republican primary for supervisor in September, Cantwell declined to accept the nomination because he said he wanted to show his commitment to his Democratic running mates Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. He said he didn't want to appear on two lines with Republican candidates Stanzione and Overton, both of whom had the Independence nomination.

Other Uncontested Races

There were a few other uncontested races in East Hampton that are now official.

Carole A. Brennan was elected as Town Clerk with 5,281 votes, and Stephen K. Lynch was re-elected as the Town Highway Superintendent with 5,345 votes.

Both were cross endorsed by the three major parties and had the Conservative line.

There were a handful of write-ins for both positions.

Brennan, the current deputy town clerk, will replace Overton. She has been with the town for 21 years. She helped run the clerk's office in 2011 and 2012, while Overton battled cancer.

Lynch won election two years ago, ousting Scott King amidst much controversy in the then highway superintendent's office. Lynch received 3,567 votes, or nearly 60 percent in the 2011 race, while King had 2,387 votes, or about 40 percent.

Surprised by the town board results? Tell us in the comments below.

MARTIN DREW November 05, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Congrats to Mr. Overton - Congrats to Mrs. Burke - Gonzalez - The people have chosen you - to lead our town back from the brink of no return ; best of luck in this mission of continued rescue .. The challenges are many - remember - acceptance - tolerance - respect and assimilation along the way to REAL CHANGE - You both will serve the people of East Hampton well - Congratulations again on your campaign wins .
Lady L November 06, 2013 at 07:28 AM
The real test is whether Cantwell will end up raising public employee's salaries, as he did his own, and finding more things to fund, thus our taxes will go even higher, or if he and his board will find ways to tighten the budget and reduce the burden on the taxpayer.
SadderBudweiser November 06, 2013 at 08:22 AM
One thing he can stop funding is the Airport. It can surely be self-sufficient from this point on. Let's hope campaign promises of a full and accurate study will lead to local control of that noisy polluting mess.
bernette November 06, 2013 at 08:39 AM
Help the children / seniors ...they are the most important :: strart new programs : for kids fix the older programs see why there so messed up
Patricia Anne November 06, 2013 at 10:10 AM
Congratulations to Fred Overton and Ms. Burke-Gonzalez, it is encouraging to see two new representatives from Springs! I hope that you will give our often neglected hamlet your future attention! Best Wishes!!
Lady L November 06, 2013 at 11:41 AM
Oh yes Bernette, let's get more services for children and seniors, they are SO under-served, and we really need more taxes added to what we have to fork out already. What we need is a balanced budget, less spending and parents being responsible for their own children, families taking care of their own elderly, and clean up after their own yards.
Christine Martin November 06, 2013 at 12:58 PM
I hope to see and hear Town meetings with less vitriol and hand wringing. This board seems to have a better temperament. I'm looking forward to being right on this :)
MARTIN DREW November 15, 2013 at 09:32 AM
"NEW " board - issues / some a decade old already .. Vetted on the campaign trail .. MONTAUK - coastal erosion ( armored dune ) Tourist conduct - taxis - share houses .. Amagansett - 555 Development project - wealthy seniors or workforce housing .. Got to be something .. Prohibiting development - politically - is not right - Let's watch this playout ; Tourist conduct - Springs - Commercial use of residential properties ; adverse to known laws and expectations / law enforcement required. Overcrowded SINGLE FAMILY residences - with multiple families Burdening the Springs Taxpayers @ School taxes .. East Hampton / EH Village - lack of affordable housing - tourist conduct - can Village Officials get bicyclist off the sidewalks ? Tourist conduct - bike lanes? Wainscott - the noise of Airport traffic - seems to be the most important ... Let's not watch more inaction of politics - public participation is paramount to guiding this NEW BOARD .. Can't hug all trees / fear racial profiling while excercising the laws; can't continue denying affordable developments (housing) And keep preserving land while avoiding controlled development. Where is the town-wide master plan ?? The TDR central bank - $420k in consultants (3) comp plans and no master land plan? Paying full market price for preserved land! Look to SH for real leadership .. Mr . Cantwell - let's see how he handles the obvious faults in our town --it's on HIM NOW! Can't blame others who let 10 years of inaction get us where we are now .. Here's to hope for change !

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