By Tessa Raebeck
Over a week after the election, the Southampton Town Council race remains too close to call, with 879 absentee ballots left to be counted, officials said Wednesday morning.
According to the office of Suffolk County Board of Elections Commissioner Anita Katz, counting of the absentee ballots is underway and will not be finished until as late as the beginning of next week.
No matter who wins the two open seats, each of the four candidates would be joining the town board for the first time. Stan Glinka, of Hampton Bays, and Jeffrey Mansfield, of Bridgehampton, ran together on the Republican Party line, facing challengers Brad Bender, of Northport, and Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, of Southampton, who ran on the Democratic and Independence party lines.
According to the unofficial results released by the Suffolk County Board of Elections, with 42 of 42 districts reporting on election night last Tuesday, Glinka led the town council race with 5,857 votes, or 25.85 percent of tallied ballots. Bender is in second place, with 5,746 votes, or 25.36 percent.
If the absentee ballots do not significantly alter the results, Bender and Glinka will join the town board come January.
With 5,603 votes, or 24.73 percent, Mansfield trails Bender by just 143 votes. Behind Mansfield by 158 votes, Zappone earned 5,445 votes, or 24.03 percent.
In addition to the town council race, the official outcome of the race for five town trustee positions also hangs in the balance until absentee ballots are counted.
If the results hold, incumbents Bill Pell (8,933 votes), Eric Shultz (8,746 votes) and Ed Warner, Jr. (7,161 votes), members of the Independence, Democrat and Republican parties, respectively, will have secured the top three spots. The remaining two spots would go to Republicans Scott Horowitz (6,399 votes) and Ray Overton (5,436 votes).