L. to R.: Ray Tierney and Tim Sini

Republican Ray Tierney unseated first-term Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini, a Democrat, in a stunning upset to become the new top prosecutor for the eastern half of Long Island.

Tierney drew 57% of the vote over Sini’s 42%, according to unofficial early returns tallied Tuesday night by the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

“I will fight every day to keep the citizens of Suffolk County safe,” Tierney told cheering supporters. “I will be fair and I will reach out to community to develop relations so we can all have faith in our district attorney’s office.”

The upset comes as Republican Anne Donnelly flipped the Nassau County district attorney’s seat into GOP hands for the first time in 16 years. The Democrat in that race, New York State Sen. Todd Kaminski (D-Long Beach), like Sini, is a former federal prosecutor.

Sini had been elected with a mandate to reform the office after his predecessor, former Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota, was arrested and later convicted of covering up the former police chief’s beating of a handcuffed suspect who had stolen the chief’s bag of porn and sex toys. Spota was sentenced this summer to five years in federal prison.

Tierney and Sini sparred on the campaign trail over hot button issues such as how best to prosecute the MS-13 street gang, the ongoing opioid epidemic, and the impact of the state’s bail reform.

“You should all be so proud of the work that you do,” a teary-eyed Sini, addressing his staff, said in his concession speech. “Many of you will continue to do that work.”

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