Two mayors were elected and a write-in candidate won during elections in the Port Washington villages on Tuesday.
The village elections were originally scheduled for March 18, but following two reschedulings due to the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order for all village elections to take place Sept. 15.
Mayor Jim Avena of the Manorhaven Residents Party won re-election against resident Vincent Costa of the Manorhaven Liberty Party. Avena received 421 votes to Costa’s 384.
The Residents Party’s Deputy Mayor Priscilla von Roeschlaub received 397 votes, and Manorhaven Liberty candidate and local business owner Harry S. Farina received 395, meaning that both will receive a term on the village’s board of trustees. Farina will receive the seat being vacated by Trustee Ken Kraft.
Losing trustee candidates included Zoning Board of Appeals member Joseph Zimbardi, who received 375 votes, and 10-year resident and Manorhaven Liberty candidate Walter E. Peters who received 368 votes.
In a statement posted to the Manorhaven Liberty Party’s Facebook group, Peters called the campaign “an amazing experience.”
Mayor Brian Herrington, who took office after the death of Mayor Robert McNamara in April, handily defeated Trustee Kate Hirsch to retain his seat for a full term of office following a nine-month campaign in Flower Hill. Herrington received 596 votes to Hirsch’s 233.
Herrington’s Flower Hill Party slate members also kept their seats, with incumbent Deputy Mayor Randall Rosenbaum receiving 562 votes and incumbent Trustee Gary Lewandowski receiving 577 votes.
McNamara, who was running for a trustee position under the same party at the time of his death, remained on the ballot as per the rules of the executive order, which call for candidates on the ballots to remain unchanged. He won the last available trustee seat with 560 votes. The Flower Hill Party has announced an intention to place resident Claire Dorfman in the seat following McNamara’s win.
Under Hirsch’s Liberty Party banner, residents and trustee candidates Diane Turner, Jay Silverman and Jeffrey Greilsheimer respectively received 240 votes, 232 votes and 225 votes.
Hirsch then filed an ethics complaint against Flower Hill’s chief election officer, village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer, alleging that she was assisting the Flower Hill Party in its campaign, with both Shatzkamer and Herrington denying the allegations.
Herrington later released an email sent by Hirsch in July offering to drop her campaign in exchange for the dismissal of village staff members and the dropping of harassment charges against her.
The mayor said in a statement to Blank Slate Media that the turnout was the largest in recent memory.
“The Flower Hill Party and I want to thank each and every voter for coming out to vote,” Herrington said. “Every vote was participation in democracy and a memorial to those who have sacrificed so much to protect and defend our democracy. To win with over 70 percent of the voters supporting our agenda is only part of the story. It is also a reflection of the good work the village staff is doing every day to help our residents. You can be assured that our team will be fighting in the best interest of this community every day.”
Hirsch discussed the loss in a statement to Blank Slate Media.
“I’m proud of the transparent, positive, grassroots campaign we ran,” Hirsch said. “It’s difficult to topple an entrenched, well-financed political party and unfortunately it didn’t work out as we planned. Myself and my fellow Liberty Party candidates are grateful to everyone who supported us throughout our campaign and on Election Day.”
“To those residents that voted for the Liberty Party, we know this was a statement that there are issues in the community you would like addressed,” Herrington said. “We recognize this and look forward to working directly with you in the coming months and years.”
Incumbent Trustee Alice Peckleis ran unopposed and won re-election to her seat with 29 votes, along with Village Justice Elizabeth S. Kase, who received 51 votes.
Write-in candidate Brian Reardon won the other available trustee seat with 22 votes.
G. Douglas Baldwin, a trustee of 15 years, had his name on the ballot, but in late July he withdrew from the race, citing his inability to leave Taiwan due to the coronavirus pandemic. Baldwin, who encouraged voters to rally behind a write-in candidate, did receive 20 votes, being narrowly beaten by Reardon.
Incumbent Trustee Peter Foreman ran unopposed and won another two-year term with 139 votes, while incumbent Trustee Jeffrey Moslow, also unopposed, kept his single-year seat with 137 votes.
Planning Board member Rita Sethi ran unopposed and won her first two-year term as a trustee with 132 votes, filling the seat vacated by Trustee Lynn Najman.