With all absentee ballots counted, Republican Don Clavin has defeated incumbent Democrat Laura Gillen in the Town of Hempstead supervisor race by 1,650 votes. She conceded Thursday at noon.
According to the Board of Elections, Clavin, more than 150,000 votes were cast in the supervisor’s race. GOP Commissioner Louis Savinetti said there were a handful of ballots in dispute, but not enough to overturn the election. On Election Day, Clavin got 50 percent of the vote, while Gillen garnered 49 percent and Independence Party candidate Diane Madden had 1 percent.
Clavin declared victory on Nov. 5, and released a statement Thursday after the board confirmed his lead. “I want to thank the voters of Hempstead Town for giving me the opportunity to serve as the next supervisor of America’s largest township,” 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. I also want to ensure that all neighbors of our community have a voice in the process and have a stake in governmental decision-making.”
At press time, Clavin had not officially been declared the winner because there were still a few steps left in the election process. According to state law, the board must randomly audit 3 percent — roughly 33 — of the voting machines used in the election to ensure that they were functioning properly. Savinetti then had to meet with Democratic Commissioner James Scheuerman to certify the election results, which, he said, they planned to do Monday or Tuesday.
Gillen became the first Democratic town supervisor in more than a century when she defeated Anthony Santino in 2017. She was seeking a second term. Clavin has served as the town’s receiver of taxes since 2001.
“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 fell just short. While we rightly condemn the tax receiver’s campaign of misinformation, which distorted my record of cutting taxes, we must respect the democratic process.”
Gillen added that she would transition the office in an “orderly and professional manner,” while saying that Santino did not do the same for her when she was elected.
Clavin wished Gillen luck and said he looked forward to a new chapter in the town. “I am eager to work together for the benefit of all Hempstead Town residents,” he said. “I look forward to discussing my priorities and policies in the coming weeks.”