Election 2017

Gillen makes history as first Democratic Hempstead supervisor in more than a century

Republicans retain positions in local legislative races


For the first time in more than a century, the Town of Hempstead will have a Democratic supervisor. Laura Gillen, a Rockville Centre attorney, defeated incumbent Republican Anthony Santino on Tuesday night by roughly 2,000 votes.

Santino had faced withering criticism over the past several months from council members of his own party, alleging transparency issues and corruption.

Gillen said that her victory was one for all town residents. “We are going into a new era in the Town of Hempstead, and I thank you all for your support,” Gillen said in her victory speech.

Santino conceded the race Wednesday morning, vowing to work with Gillen toward a smooth transition.

"I congratulate Ms. Gillen on her victory and wish her the best of success as she assumes the position of Hempstead Town Supervisor," Santino said. "I look forward to working cooperatively with her to ensure a smooth transition for our township’s residents."

Baldwin Democrat Laura Curran also pulled out a victory over Republican Jack Martins in the race for Nassau County’s highest seat, with virtually all precincts reporting.

Both Curran and Martins campaigned heavily on anticorruption platforms, as outgoing County Executive Ed Mangano battled federal criminal charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

“Tonight, Nassau voted to end the culture of corruption,” Curran said in her victory speech, “and to give our county the fresh start we deserve.”

Curran went on to say that she planned to make Nassau County “a better place for all our residents,” and to make county government accountable to the voters “and only to them.”

Republican incumbent Anthony D’Esposito defeated Democratic challenger Douglas Mayer by 4,467 votes to remain Councilman for the 4th District of the Town of Hempstead.

"It's great to see that so many of my constituents in the fourth district were approving of the work that I've done over the past 18 months,” D’Esposito said. “Being out there, doing my best for the community has certainly resonated with people.”

It was a big night for incumbent Republicans in the local legislative districts, as Denise Ford (4th), William Gaylor (6th) and Howard Kopel (7th) all retained their seats.

“My opponent this race was a very nice person,” said Kopel, who defeated Karen Blitz by about 57 percent. “She conducted herself with dignity and I hope she stays involved. I want to continue working on the same issues and get the county on firm financial footing.”

Gaylor, who topped Democrat Dino Amoroso by about 54 percent, said that there is a lot of work to be done, and that he wants to focus on county finances and eliminating the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority. He added that he plans to improve infrastructure by using bond projects and to continue to maintain transparency in government. Minutes after his win, Gaylor said, “it was a good campaign and the voters voted their conscience.”

Ford was not available to speak at Republican headquarters in Westbury. She defeated Democratic challenger Jane Smith Fisher by about 61 percent of the vote.