Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Voters elected Democratic Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to a third term Tuesday.

The county’s top-elected official beat Republican challenger John M. Kennedy, the county comptroller, by a margin of 55 to 43 percent, according to unofficial results from the Suffolk Board of Elections. Libertarian candidate Gregory Fischer drew 1 percent of the vote.

“Tonight the people of Suffolk have spoke and they have made it clear that they want the progress to continue,” Bellone told cheering supporters at a union hall in Hauppauge. “We’ve come a long way in the past eight years but I truly believe that it pales in comparison to what we can get done in the next four years.”

Among the top issues in the campaign were the state of the county’s finances. The vote came shortly after the New York State Comptroller’s office rated Suffolk the most fiscally stressed county statewide for the second year in a row.

The election was the first on Long Island since the Empire State legalized early voting. Voter turnout is believed to have been up, but the margins were not immediately clear.

 

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