Supe Race Comes Down To Absentees; Dems Grab Council Seats

Bill Wilkinson has slight lead over challenger Zachary Cohen, while Peter Van Scoyoc and Sylvia Overby secure two seats on town board.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has won re-election at the polls, but with less than 200 votes separating him from candidate Zachary Cohen, the final call will be left to the absentee ballots.

Meanwhile Democrat candidates secured spots on the East Hampton Town Board.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections reported all 19 districts reporting in on Wednesday morning, though the numbers did not appear to have been updated from when only 17 districts had reported in. They show Wilkinson ahead 51.42 percent, having received 3,066 votes. Cohen had 48.45 percent of the vote, or 2,889 votes.

"This is the second election in two years where absentee ballots are critical," said East Hampton Republican Committee chairwoman Trace Duryea.

From , Cohen said he expected a close race, but he didn’t expect it to be as close as it was. The absentee ballots, he said, would have to be counted as they come in over the next week, but it could take longer if other towns require recounts.

The Republican and Democrats' numbers when it comes to the absentees differ slightly, based on when they last checked with the Board of Elections. It seems that between 700 to 800 absentee ballots have been returned so far out of approximately 1,050 that had been requested. All absentee ballots, except for those from members of the military, had to be returned by Tuesday night at 9 p.m., when the polls closed.

"I know it's not over until it's over," Wilkinson told the large crowd at Republican headquarters at , adding that he was encouraged so far.

According to unofficial numbers furnished by Cohen, the night’s final tally had Wilkinson with 3,007 votes and Cohen with 2,886. The Republicans meanwhile had numbers that showed Wilkinson ahead with 3,217 to 2,942.

The scheduled festivities for the Democrats didn’t really get rolling at Rowdy Hall  until shortly after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, when Van Scoyoc and Overby locked in seats on the town board.

The board of elections showed Van Scoyoc coming out on top with 2,689 votes, or 23.69 percent, and Overby with 2,475 votes, or 21.43 percent.

Van Scoyac said, it was an "unusual race, anything could have happened," as there were six candidates up for two council seats.

"I'm elated," Overby said. Speaking of the Democrats campaign, she said, "The message was about quality of life and community character, and it rang true with the electorate."

Cohen said, “I think we did a fabulous job,” recalling that members of his own party suggested he save the money and not run back in August. “We showed the policies we put forth matched what the people in the town wanted and needed."

For the two , there was sheer disappointment. Bill Mott, who seemed to have a groundswell of support, received about 13.9 percent of the vote and came in fifth, behind Republicans respectively. "I thought it would be a lot closer," he said.

Marilyn Behan was nearly in tears at the party's headquarters at . Having come in last with about 11.5 percent of the vote, she said she was proud of her campaign.

Name Party Percent Votes Bill Wilkinson  R 51.42 3066 Zachary Cohen  D 48.45 2889

*7 votes for write in candidate(s)

East Hampton Town Council 

Name Party Percent Votes Sylvia Overby  D 21.43
Steve S. Gaines  R 14.74
William J. Mott  I 13.94
Peter K. Van Scoyoc  D 23.29 2,689
Richard A. Haeg  R 15.05
Marilyn Jane Behan  I 11.52

With reporting by

Carole Campolo November 10, 2011 at 04:03 AM
If Bill Wilkinson were a Democrat, he would be lauded and talked about for national office. Andy Cuomo is trying to do in the State, exactly what Bill has done in East Hampton and Bill is being excoriated for it. And don't give me any touch feely garbage about he didn't smile enough. Anyone who knows Andy Cuomo knows this guy is tough, obnoxious, rarely smiles and takes no prisoners. Bill is milk toast compared to Andy. Yet, the same people on this thread that are complaining about Bill, probably think Cuomo is the greatest thing in politics since Bill Clinton. Say it for what it is ladies and gentlemen. You are nuts because Bill is a Republican, has been a brilliant supervisor, you are all benefitting from his tireless efforts and so now with the town stabilized you can tut tut about how he doesn't smile, or whatever. And hand the town back to the very people that got us in deep, deep financial trouble. Andy Cuomo, Bill Wilkinson doing the very best but from different parties. And that makes all the difference, doesn't it?
pat November 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM
Bill Wilkinson's caustic throwaway comments are no one's fault but his own. If you are dismissive of voters, they may just dismiss you, too. Certainly, the victory for Overby and Van Scoyoc is a vote against his attitude toward citizens with an opinion that differs from those he holds. Even if he wins, he should pause and think the next time before he speaks.
Montauk Lighthouse November 10, 2011 at 02:12 PM
How short peoples memories are. didn't these Democratic runners get us into this mess to begin with. And if you vote for that goonie guy Cohen because he smiles then you get what you deserve. Self serving BS.
todd November 10, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Yes Carole, national office and Sainthood. Has nothing to do with smiling enough. In local politics personality counts. He just didn't give a damn enough about voters to make an effort to change. Voters saw that character flaw. In his mind the world is divided into friends and enemies. That might work in the corporate world but not in local politics. Wilkie believes those with opposing views are always wrong. Listening is a weakness. If he ends up losing he has himself to blame and the terrible campaign you and fellow Republican party officials ran. Likely the worst in EH history. You blew it.. big time.
J November 10, 2011 at 04:18 PM
I'm just curious as to why people voted the way they did for supervisor (maybe a good question of the day Taylor?). Was it simply the personalities of the two candidates that swayed people or was it actual substance? Because what I see here is that substance didn't really matter for many and that's disappointing - just because someone smiles at you doesn't make them a good manager. I voted for a person who said he would come in and fix the disastrous financial situation of the town and he did. He made hard choices that few would have the guts to make but the town's financial future is better for it and for that reason alone he deserves another two years.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) November 10, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Here you go: http://patch.com/A-n9QY
todd November 10, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Simple answer. Wilkinson is perceived as arrogant and dismissive of honest resident concerns. Voters evidently believe that Cohen is equally capable of resolving our town's financial problems and more willing to listen to competing arguments on issues. Don't confuse personality and behavior. He treated voters as rank and file employees rather than as management partners. That's why he might be packing his office next week.
SadderBudweiser November 10, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Bill Wilkinson is due thanks for his role in putting us back on the right track financially speaking. I appreciated the tidy tax cut when my tax bill arrived. But what Republican leadership just can't seem to comprehend is that there is more to life in East Hampton than money. The Republican party chairman's comments on page one of today's STAR: "I'm really disappointed in the community in which I live." How pathetic! Are you folks in total denial? Are we all "Thugs" now? What kind of leadership runs full page ads demonizing and denigrating the opposition candidates as thugs and hopes to be taken seriously? Sure, you may disagree with the other side but the people whose character you chose to assassinate repeatedly are people who put countless hours into service of their community. Would it have been too much to ask to have your candidate for supervisor say thank you to his opponent for volunteering to help untangle the McGintee mess instead of attempting to denigrate him? Intelligent people know the difference and picked up on it very quickly. If Republican leadership wants to look for scapegoats it needs to look no farther than in the mirror. You have some very good people in your party. Perhaps it's housecleaning time? (Again!)
resident November 10, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Are those claiming the republicans were demonizing and denigrating not focused on their own party's campaign literature. From the perspective of a republican, the democrats were doing the demonizing and denigrating. And listening? It depends on who is speaking. Anyone who has been involved or been an observer of our town's boards over the past many years should know that to some, those candidates who promise to listen, only listen to one side, those on their side.
Emmanual Moody November 10, 2011 at 07:40 PM
the candy store is now open! Free! Free! Free! I look forward to the leaf pickup. East Hampton dump 7 days a week! Fat pensions and cadillac health care plans for all town employees. LOVE IT. Cohen is really nice - he will hook us up!!
Kevin Cobb November 11, 2011 at 12:40 AM
It is extremely important for both sides to learn from this election that we the people demand to be treated with respect and that our voices be heard.
Carole Campolo November 11, 2011 at 02:54 AM
I don't know what more an elected official can do in terms of listening to the voices of the electorate and treating the taxpayers with respect than to do what is asked of him. Bill was elected in 2009 to rescue the Town's finance and restore integrity to Town hall. And that is exactly what he did and more. There is no better listening to the voices of the people than to do what they have asked of him. And there is no greater respect that can be shown to the voters than to keep the promises made. Bill is getting a bad rap on this and I believe it is just an excuse. As I recall Bill McGintee did not listen to people and was exceptionally rude to people that appeared before him at Town Hall and disagreed with him. Yet, he was re-elected even when a serious scandal engulfed his entire administration. But, he was running as a Democrat. Bill is a Republican; he did what he was elected to do; and now, who needs him. This is a Democrat town pure and simple and when people need help to restore the mess that the Dems make, they turn to Republicans. When the mess is restored, they vote Dems back in. That is how it works on the local, state and national scene. And that is how I interpret this gnashing of teeth over Bill's supposed non-listening and a rather un-informed remark that I read on another thread that Bill was the most divisive Supervisor in 30 years. Divisive? Does the name McGintee ring a bell?
todd November 11, 2011 at 05:10 AM
Republicans don't get that it's not always about the buck in local politics. Wilkinson did a fine job with town finances. But the disrespect he showed to so many different groups made voters consider that Cohen could do the job just as well if not better. What other explanation is there? Wilkinson had every opportunity to demonstrate real leadership qualities and he failed. He prefers governing by fiat and apparently voters rejected that approach. One can't tell voters to suck up their complaints about a noisy bar until summer ends and get votes. Or ignore intelligent arguments on why it's ludicrous to hold a concert in EH on a August weekend. Bill always thinks he's the smartest guy in the room and unfortunately he's been proven wrong again and again. If it turns out that he has won reelection I hope he proceeds with humility and self-reflection. He has the potential to be so much better. One more thing. The McGintee era is over. He was arrogant and a lousy supervisor. We all know that. The voters have moved forward. Maybe it's time for you and your fellow Republicans to do the same. Or you can continue to point backwards and get left behind. Republicans might start by tossing Trace Duryea to the curb as party head. It's not a good idea to insult voters following a butt-kicking.
MARTIN DREW November 11, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Todd ; well said friend ( hands clapping) We could use a guy like you on our committee ... Interested let me know ... Martin Drew - Chairman Long Island Sports Committee
SadderBudweiser November 11, 2011 at 01:46 PM
And the Republican disrespect of the people continues as Dominick Stanzione introduces last minute resolution to accept FAA funding at the airport BEFORE the end of the year brings new board members. Amazing. A new low in local politics.
MARTIN DREW November 11, 2011 at 02:05 PM
The Airport is the focus of our groups recreation project . Will FAA funding promote use of "other" uses on the facility? Who controls the GROUND if FAA controls the AIRSPACE? Did the APPROVED ALP subdivide the 210 acres and Industrial park as previous attempts dictated ? Alot of unknowns for the PUBLIC. Resolution offered ; can I get a second ; PASSED & CARRIED .. It's that EASY .. Who of all the CONCERNED GROUPS will ask for a emergency injunction by a judge? Dominick needs to hit the flaps on this resolution UNTIL further questions are answered . The public wants access to the facility too Can't just be about 60 pilots .. Martin Drew -
Elaine Jones November 11, 2011 at 02:19 PM
The reason Bill Wilkinson is in such a close race is exactly why he was not endorsed by the Independence Party committee. I know that I talked to my community and they were not happy three months after Bill took over as Supervisor;. If you really think it is because he did not smile you are all just not getting it. You have to listen to the people and what they want. There is one thing Perry Duryea never forgot and that was his people, the people who supported him and the workers who worked for him and he listened. I guess Trace Duryea didn't learn much from him. The nasty town hall meetings did not help Bill. Theresa took over and many people thought she was the Supervisor. I tried to tell Bill that also but he didn't listen. I know of Republicans who have never voted for a Democrat before and this year they did vote for Zach Cohen because they could not stand to listen to the town board meetings anymore. It was not about the smiles it was about LISTENING. And transparency. Bill claimed that he was transparent except the docks popped out of nowhere with no talks with the fisherman, the concert came out of nowhere with no discussion with the community, Back door politics no longer is going to work in East Hampton Town.
pat November 11, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Fixing a financial situation takes an accountant. Governing takes a leader who considers ALL segments of the community, not just the ones who cough up contributions or run out-of-control clubs who can't even obey laws set up to protect the community and the environment. Muzzling citizens advisory boards, the public -- it all comes home to roost. Then when things like, oh, music festivals fail, you blame the public, not maybe the idea in the first place. The community didn't come in for much consideration under Wilkinson-Quigley.
todd November 11, 2011 at 02:39 PM
If Wilkie loses you can expect many more parting gifts to Republican supporters. That will just alienate voters more. Quigley and Dominick will be gone next and Republicans will not understand why.
MARTIN DREW November 11, 2011 at 03:17 PM
For Val ; in your comment ; government takes a leader who considers ALL segments of the community ; Does that sentiment give support to our groups desire for a open space to use and ride ATV & OHV vehicles in a dedicated open space being we have been outlawed from our towns trails system. Do YOU support our efforts for assimilation ? Do you think it fair that currently we have no recreation opportunity ? Martin Drew / Chairman Long Island Sports Committee
Carole Campolo November 12, 2011 at 03:18 AM
Do you guys really think that solving some of the biggest problems this town faced, in as short a time as Bill and his team on the Board did, was not LEADERSHIP? Not for nothing guys, but just reading your comments makes me think not one of you has ever managed anything in your lives. Getting from Point A to Point B takes understanding the problem, listening to the best advice you can get from the experts, (and let's not forget the Democrat State Comptroller's staff has been on scene and lending their expertise) and then making the tough decisions. That is leadership 101. I fear that Zach's propensity for studying a problem to death (which is kind of what he said in the debates) is not leadership. As to those who wonder about Republicans "getting it," let me assure that the bottom line in municipal budgets (to those of you without experience in that field) is not just about numbers. It is about people's every day lives with more efficient government resulting in less expenditures to the taxpayer. It is about the family that now has some extra money because of a tax reduction, to spend on Christmas gifts for their kids. Families can spend their own money much more wisely than government can spend their money. And that's what it is about. Families, people, freedom and liberty. But, let's continue this thought. I posit a question to you all. Why is East Hampton's government still nearly as large as Southampton's government with less people and less land mass?
Elaine Jones November 12, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Carol I hate to disagree with you but even McGintee and I was often the victim of his wrath didn't treat people at the Town Board meetings as Theresa and Bill did. Go back and look at the tapes Carol. Bill M would say have a nice day or thank you to those who yelled at him and they yelled often. BNill W. said he was going to change all that and it only got worse. Much worse. Look at the tapes. I don't know what Bill W. and Theresa thought but he definitely got the wrong message in his head and he did not keep his promises. Was all the screaming and cursing at Town Hall everyones imagination And now to insult the voters by saying they were wrong. I knew three months after Bill took office that he was heading in the wrong direction and I told him so but he laughed at me.
Elaine Jones November 12, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Carol I hate to disagree with you but even McGintee and I was often the victim of his wrath didn't treat people at the Town Board meetings as Theresa and Bill did. Go back and look at the tapes Carol. Bill M would say have a nice day or thank you to those who yelled at him and they yelled often. BNill W. said he was going to change all that and it only got worse. Much worse. Look at the tapes. I don't know what Bill W. and Theresa thought but he definitely got the wrong message in his head and he did not keep his promises. Was all the screaming and cursing at Town Hall everyones imagination And now to insult the voters by saying they were wrong. I knew three months after Bill took office that he was heading in the wrong direction and I told him so but he laughed at me.
Elaine Jones November 12, 2011 at 03:36 PM
I know people who can't afford to buy Christmas now because they have to pay $500 to have their leaves picked up. By the way Carol once again you insult people by your superior attitude and suggest that they don't know anything about running a business. We've had a successful business for 30 years and there are many others who have, but the Republicans insult us and say we don't know what is good for us. It is definitely not only about the money, it is about the treatment oif the people, transparency in government, back door meetings etc. But you really don't get it so you won't change and that is not good.
todd November 12, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Yes Carol. Anyone who has a different view than you is either ignorant, ill-educated, or has no business experience. Guess that's the party line. No reason to debate this issue with you any longer. In a week or so we'll know whether Wilkie stays or goes.
Carole Campolo November 12, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Sorry if you guys take criticism and opposing views from your own as insults. That is very unfortunate. And as you say Todd, if that is the case than you are right, no reason to debate any of this any longer.
MARTIN DREW November 12, 2011 at 11:15 PM
Ms Campolo ; are you sure you know the definition of liberty? I pose the question VAL disappeared on ... Do you Support our local desire to ride ATV & OHV VEHICLES : in a dedicated site; as the trails system (300 miles) has been hijacked by outsiders ( EHTPS) . I feel Mr Wilkinson could use a lesson on the definition too. He doesn't care about local families ; people who desire liberty and freedom in their lifestyle choices. Discrimination is NOT LEADERSHIP ; what says you? Defender of the Wilky regime?
MARTIN DREW November 13, 2011 at 09:25 PM
Bruce Colbath November 14, 2011 at 03:43 AM
My wife and I have not been coming out here the last 27 years to pick up the paper to see screaming letters aimed not at opposing candidates, but citizens of East Hampton. Wilkinson has collected and paraded a bunch of junkyard dogs around town who have polluted the airwaves with condescension and vitriol -- the trouble is they have alienated their voters -- not a very good idea, even for those who claim years of experience in government. The Wilkinson gang just doesn't get it; if he has any sense he would send the junkyard dogs packing and turn over a new leaf -- if he gets the chance.
MARTIN DREW November 14, 2011 at 04:06 AM
Ms. Campolo ; ..... ??? Cat got your toungue?


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