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UPDATED: Unofficial Results Show Wilkinson Wins by a Hair

Unofficial results show incumbent supervisor re-elected, retaining 12-vote lead with 11 ballots remaining; Cohen reportedly not conceding.

Bill Wilkinson, the sitting Republican supervisor of East Hampton Town, has defeated Democratic challenger Zach Cohen by a handful of votes, according to unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

Coming into a Tuesday meeting , according to East Hampton Democrats, Wilkinson retained an unofficial 12-vote lead at the end of the day on Tuesday. Eleven absentee ballots remain unopened and yet to be counted, not enough to change the outcome of the race.

RELATED: Democrats say "not so fast" on Wilkinson win.

Lawyers representing each candidate met at the BOE Tuesday afternoon around 2 p.m., as well as Republican Chairwoman Trace Duryea and Chris Kelley, Cohen's campaign manager.

Each remaining absentee ballot was read aloud individually, and after roughly 57 ballots were read, the lawyers got up from the table and shook hands, seemingly ending the process with Wilkinson as the unofficial victor.

But 20 minutes later, John Leo, the lawyer representing the East Hampton Democratic Party, emerged with Kelley announcing that 13 ballots remained uncounted - enough to earn a Cohen victory. Messina returned to witness two more ballots opened. One was cast in favor of Wilkinson, the other in favor of Cohen.

Despite the announcement, Democratic Chairwoman Jeanne Frankl said Cohen was not prepared to concede. Messages left with Cohen, Wilkinson and Kelley were not immediately returned.

Republican Commissioner at the BOE, Wayne Rogers, said he and fellow commissioner, Democrat Anita Katz, would look through the remaining 11 ballots on Wednesday and will vote on whether or not to count all 11. Absentees appearing to have arrived at the BOE opened, for example, may be discarded, with a unanimous two-person vote.

Wilkinson held on to his slim election night lead to earn a second term.

"It's a great relief to have this done," Duryea said before leaving BOE headquarters. "I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful for."

Lynne Scanlon November 22, 2011 at 09:20 PM
Wins by a nose!
Yearounder November 22, 2011 at 09:42 PM
phhhhheeewwwww!!!!!!
the owl November 22, 2011 at 09:57 PM
That would be bad news -- as it would mean that the best man did not win. It would also mean that dirty campaigning and funding all those really nasty namecalling ads about other candidates works in this electorate. How sad is that!
J November 22, 2011 at 09:59 PM
the owl - that would be "best man" in your view. Not everyone shares that view, clearly, so it's a little much to say "the best man did not win." It's your opinion, not everyones.
Katt November 22, 2011 at 10:24 PM
I WANT A RECOUNT!!!!!
High Way Worker November 22, 2011 at 10:28 PM
The Democrats endorsed and happily supported Scott King -- need I say more? And they ran a lie filled, nasty and pandering campaign for the Town Board seats. They lied about creditials (and were reprimanded by one of the highest elected DEMOCRAT officials in the State), they lied about how the Republicans fixed the Democrat financial mess, they lied about beach riding, and in the end they wrote vicious letters attacking Wilkinson's career at Disney and ABC. But that is par for the course with the Dems -- it is one negative campaign after another going back 20 years. And from what I understand they tried to steal the election with bogus absentee ballots -- my sources in the media tell me that is a story that may explode over the next six months. It all starts with endorsing Scott King -- not seen at work since election day.
Paul Jackson November 23, 2011 at 01:18 AM
Maybe it's time to move from East Hampton!
Mary ann La Carrubba November 23, 2011 at 02:03 AM
I hope Wilkenson holds on, we need him. He has done a very good job. He's the best man to lead East hampton.
Montaukman November 23, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Hey Paul don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
Preliator November 23, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Bye.
Julie strong November 23, 2011 at 01:53 PM
The election results are irritating. Where on earth did they even come up with this Cohen character? And to think that nearly 50% of the voters would vote for a Democrat with no experience over the current supervisor is proposterous ! Ha and its not about the party? Bs Ridiculous that the people in this town wouldn't know a good thing of it smacked them upside the head! Bill Wilkenson has fulfilled nearly i not all of his campaign promises during his time as supervisor. Sure cuts had to made by offices, programs, and services. Can I ask who is not cutting back on spending in this economy? And all of those out there squaking about how " their' special interests are not getting "their" way should ponder the thought that is not about "there" interests its anoit ours and what would benefit "our" community .We all have to look at what and who is best qualified and that man is Wilkenson. The sad thing is over half the people living here didn't vote and now this election is up to absentee ballots from second homeowners not even living in the area! Sure keep on counting those votes Cohen wasting everyone's time and money... No one likes to lose but no one likes a sore loser. Nice job East Hampton maybe next election some of you will bother to vote. Julie Strong
MARTIN DREW November 23, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Julie ; agreed voting is important ; do you think your rights outweigh the rights of others to be included in the fabric of "community" in planning our lifestyles in our town. The hypocrisy of this town is the continued discrimination of use of our open spaces . Everything for a second homeowner / tourist and NOTHING for local desires . We have to live a little too . You support a leader who continues this discrimination of a certain user group desiring inclusion ? Are you saying ; I'm a squaker ? Standing up for our desires for assimilation and acceptance is called ; democracy ; in this town it's hard to find; the word ALL includes (me) & ( you) (we) need to accept the others desires ; makes community real ; this one sided fantasy town has forgotten the values of sharing and inclusion . Don't worry I'll keep squaking ; it's unfair to give up ; my friends deserve a piece of the pie . Life is to short to feel or be an outlaw to satisfy political pandering and narrow minded individuals who only care for their expectations in life . I know you ; you know me ; it's time for change ; hopefully our leader will open his mind to a fresh approach to accepting the ENTIRE population and desires long due the Recognition of a real community that cares about the other.
MARTIN DREW November 23, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Congratulations to Mr. Wilkinson ; Just know your financial prowess can only fix so much ; Your leadership will now face moral and lifestyle challenges; long discriminated by previous administrations. Hopefully now that finances are in check ; you'll have more time to focus on other things that have been neglected in your first term ; 28 years and I'm still not going away . Please find a solution of inclusion instead of the arrogance of not caring about our locals who deserve ; Lifestyle choices that benefit local culture in the great outdoors. Time for the " Hard look" .. It's time Be well ; and again congratulations on your election.

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