L. to R.: Don Clavin and Laura Gillen

Democratic Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen conceded Thursday the election to Republican challenger Don Clavin, who recaptured the town’s top job in the GOP stronghold.

Gillen, a first-term supervisor who two years ago became the first Democrat to win the town’s top job in more than a century, trailed Clavin, the town tax receiver, by more than 1,500 votes on election night. That lead grew by another 100 votes following a count of paper ballots.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the first Democratic supervisor in 112 years,” Gillen said. “To those who supported my good government initiatives and fight against corruption, I am disappointed to say we just fell short.” 

Clavin had declared victory on election night, but Gillen waited two weeks for the Nassau County Board of Elections to count the absentee and affidavit ballots before conceding.

“I want to thank the voters of Hempstead town for giving me the opportunity to serve as the next supervisor,” Clavin said. “I am dedicated to an inclusive and forward-thinking administration that will focus on providing the best government services at the lowest possible cost.”

Gillen was one of three incumbent town supervisors on Long Island who were unseated on Election Day.

Republican challenger Yvette Aguiar unseated first-term Democratic Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith. And Democratic challenger Gerard Stiller unseated first-term Republican Shelter Island Town Supervisor Gary Gerth. 

Clavin, who has been town tax collector for 18 years, will be sworn in on Jan. 2 during a ceremony at Hempstead Town Hall. Gillen had a few parting words before passing the baton.

“I will transition the office in an orderly and professional matter, unlike the transition after I was elected when nearly 200 transfers, raises, and promotions at the 11th hour were approved in order to secure favors and benefits for future political gain at taxpayer expense,” she concluded.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.