Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, won his second four-year term on Tuesday, beating Republican challenger James O’Connor, according to the unofficial results tallied by the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
Bellone thanked cheering supporters gathered at the IBEW Local 25 union hall in Hauppauge, where the county executive was flanked on stage by county legislators and Suffolk County Democratic Chair Richard Schaffer.
“Tonight the people of Suffolk County delivered a mandate to advance the issues that we talked about in this campaign,” said Bellone, referring to his efforts to reverse both the budget deficit and declines in drinking water quality.
Bellone won with 57 percent of the vote over O’Connor’s 43 percent, the early returns showed.
“This is democracy in action,” O’Connor said at the Portugese American Center in Farmingville, where the Suffolk County Republican Committee held their election night party.
O’Connor, a former Town of North Hempstead councilman who now lives in Great River, had an uphill battle in name recognition. His campaign questioned the Bellone administration on its budget practices, policing and sought to remind voters of scandals involving Bellone appointees who’ve been convicted or resigned while reportedly under investigation.
Bellone’s campaign largely ignored O’Connor. Instead, the county executive ran on his record of working to reverse pollution to the county’s surface and drinking water, rebuilding after Sandy and not raising property taxes—although O’Connor noted that the police district tax has risen during Bellone’s tenure.
—With Jaime Franchi