As the polls closed on Tuesday night, anxious candidates and their families gathered outside the Malverne Village Hall meeting room where the ballots were being counted.
After a few minutes, poll workers closed the doors and asked for quiet. A murmur went through the crowd of four dozen or so people — “It’s close.”
As it turned out, it was anything but.
Village Trustee Tim Sullivan received 1,310 votes, to Deputy Mayor Perry Cuocci’s 687, in the election for mayor. Incumbent Mayor Keith Corbett did not seek re-election.
Scott Edwards received 1,259 votes for trustee, and Carl Prizzi garnered 1,125. Both will serve four-year terms. Brian Lewis had 769 votes. Trustee Lori Lang, who was appointed to the board last month, ran uncontested and received 1,202 votes. Judge Jim Frankie also ran uncontested, and collected 1,635 votes.
“We shook every hand that we could,” Sullivan said moments after his victory was announced. “We spoke to every resident that we could. And I think that’s how we won this election.”
After a quick pause, Sullivan added, “And we had an amazing support team that started with my wife.”
Cuocci, who will serve the remainder of his term as deputy mayor, said that despite the loss, he would continue to work with the board for the benefit of the village and its residents.
“It’s disappointing, but the public has spoken,” Cuocci said. “Now it’s time to support the residents of Malverne and work with the new mayor in moving Malverne forward. I tried my best, but obviously it wasn’t enough.”
Edwards said he was eager to start working with Sullivan and the board. “For me, it’s going to be following Tim’s lead,” Edwards said of the new mayor. “We have certain things that we want to get done. We want to hit the ground running. We want to keep the village moving in the right direction.”
Lang said she was excited about her vote total, given that she had no challengers. “It just shows how much support we have out there,” she said. “It shows how many women want to get involved in government — how many women in this community saw my value in terms of my business background, but also my volunteer work.”
Sullivan, Edwards and Frankie ran on the Good Neighbors Party line after a bit of a kerfuffle with the Independence Party. Still, Sullivan credited the Independence Party for its support during the campaign.
“It comes from the Independence Party of Malverne,” he said. “We’ll start tomorrow with forming a transition team.”
Sullivan said he was faced with a choice this election — how to run a campaign in modern politics. Ultimately, he decided to go old school.
“We went traditional,” he said. “We went real, real basic. No social media. We ran a positive campaign. We didn’t accuse anyone of anything. We ran on our own merits.”
Lang said that despite the contested election between Sullivan and Cuocci, the village board will continue to work collectively on residents’ behalf.
“Perry brings a lot of knowledge,” Lang said. “It benefits the residents when everybody works together. We’re put here to represent the taxpayers and their tax dollars, so it’s important that we all work together.