While Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) came up short in his bid to become the first Republican governor of New York since George Pataki’s tenure ended in 2006, the congressman handily won his home county of Suffolk. A further breakdown of unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections shows the race between Mr. Zeldin and Gov. Kathy Hochul, who won the election, was much tighter on the East End.
Ms. Hochul’s popularity on the predominantly blue South Fork gave her a slight advantage when votes totals from all five East End towns were tabulated.
Unofficial results show Ms. Hochul received 31,264 votes compared to 30,834 for Mr. Zeldin.
The congressman had the advantage in Shelter Island, East Hampton and Southampton, although the extremely tight margin in Southampton could still change.
Of the five East End towns, Riverhead favored Mr. Zeldin by the widest margin.. He won by 23 percentage points, tallying 8,479 out of the 13,777 votes cast.
In Southold, which has seen a shift to the left in recent years, totals were nearly even for both candidates. Mr. Zeldin reportedly tallied 5,854 votes while Ms. Hochul received 5,757. Gail Lolis, deputy commissioner for the Suffolk BOE, noted that a re-canvass was still ongoing and results do not yet reflect all valid ballots cast.
Mr. Zeldin secured 11 of the 19 election districts in Southold Town. He won nearly every election district in Riverhead, losing only Election District 6 — and by only five votes. That district covers an eastern portion of downtown Riverhead.
Mr. Zeldin had his strongest showing in areas of Wading River, Jamesport and Northville.
In Southold Town, Ms. Hochul did best in areas of Greenport and Orient. Mr. Zeldin’s highest totals came in areas of Mattituck, Cutchogue and Southold.
Mr. Zeldin had the sizable advantage in the larger western towns of Brookhaven, Islip and Smithtown. He nearly doubled Ms. Hochul’s vote total in Smithtown, which helped him easily win the overall county.
The race for the reshaped 1st Congressional District was slightly tighter. Republican Nick LaLota defeated Democrat Bridget Fleming to win the seat vacated by Mr. Zeldin. Ms. Fleming was making her second run for Congress after previously losing in a primary in 2020.
Ms. Fleming, a county legislator representing Shelter Island and the South Fork, narrowly won Southold Town with 5,834 votes compared to 5,665 for Mr. LaLota. Riverhead Town still voted overwhelmingly for the Republican candidate, giving Mr. LaLota 8,022 votes compared to 5,452 for Ms. Fleming.
Across all five East End towns, however, Ms. Fleming received 32,305 votes compared to 28,990 for Mr. LaLota.
In the state Senate race, incumbent Republican Anthony Palumbo won the vote in every town except East Hampton, where Democrat Skyler Johnson had the advantage. Mr. Palumbo won his hometown in Southold with 6,500 votes compared to 4,960 for Mr. Johnson. He easily prevailed in Riverhead with 8,760 votes compared to 4,704 for Mr. Johnson. Mr. Palumbo was elected to his second term in the state Senate.
Voters in Southold for the first time voted in the 1st Assembly District in a race featuring longtime incumbent Fred Thiele, a Democrat. Mr. Thiele narrowly won the vote in Southold, with 5,738 votes compared to 5,668 for Republican challenger Peter Ganley. Mr. Thiele had the advantage in Shelter Island, East Hampton and Southampton as well. A total of six Brookhaven districts also voted in the 1st Assembly District, with all six voting for Mr. Ganley.
The next batch of results to be released by the Suffolk County BOE are expected to be the final official results.