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One Democrat, One Republican Appear to Take Town Board Seats; Winners Prepare for Tough Road

Up to 280 absentee ballots could be accounted for next week, according to one official.

Despite opposing political views and a difference in crowd sizes between political campaign headquarters in Southeast Tuesday night, there was a common denominator: a sense of uneasiness.

As folks filed into the Republican post at in Southeast, and others made their way into across the street to support the Democrats, they chatted quietly with one another. Some munched on snacks and sipped on drinks. But by 9:30 p.m., most were calling out to folks with laptops every other minute or so, hoping for a check into the results on the Putnam County Board of Elections website.

The biggest question of the night — who would take the two seats on Southeast Town Council? It was the only contested race in Brewster and Southeast.

Candidates Edwin Alvarez (R, C, I), Lynne Eckardt (D), Roger Gross (R, C, I) and Cathie Sloat (D), were hesitant to discuss any feelings with Patch before they heard the results. Around them, some folks acknowledged hearing that the overall turnout for the election was low, and they wondered what that would mean for their favorites.

Around 10 p.m., the moment they'd all been waiting for finally arrived. Among announcements regarding numbers for unopposed Town Supervisor-elect Tony Hay (R, C, I) and Town Clerk-elect Michele Stancati (R, C, I), unofficial results put Eckardt and Gross in the lead.

At Sciortino's, sighs of disappointment for Alvarez filled the room. A few folks shouted out, reminding everyone that absentee ballots have yet to be counted.

"I couldn't have asked for better running mates," Alvarez said to a crowd of more than three dozen. His voice was full of emotion during the short speech, which was the first of four from the Integrity for Southeast team. " ... I'm not conceding of course, until next week, but win or lose, it's been a great run. I have no regrets."

Gross, Hay and Stancati — each of the latter came in with more than 2,000 votes — followed Alvarez's address. They thanked folks for the support and stressed that the Southeast Town Board is headed toward a new era.

Alvarez lost to Eckardt by 99 votes, according to . The former came in at 1,301 and the other at 1,400. Votes for Gross tallied up at 1,541, and those for Sloat at 1,057. According to Hay, who spoke with a worker at the BOE, up to 280 absentee ballots could be be accounted for next week.

The quiet but upbeat crowd of about 20 supporters at Tom and Jerry's was torn, too, when they heard the news that Eckardt won a seat, but Sloat did not.

The defeated candidate said she was prepared for the results, so the loss is not devastating — especially considering the fact that the party gets one representative on the currently all-Republican board. 

Sloat said she looks forward to the "balance" she hopes Eckardt will bring. Her running mate addressed the crowd shortly thereafter, thanking both supporters and Sloat.

"I want to hear from [voters]," Eckardt told the group. "We're going to do monthly meetings, round tables. I really, really want to hear from my constituents because they have the best ideas, the best solutions, and that's what I want to hear."

The waste-no-time-getting-to-work mentality is one Eckardt shares with another successful candidate. After making a few celebratory points, Hay was quick to point out that town officials have a "really tough" journey ahead of them. He likened his initial impression of the job to one of taking over a ship that's lacked a captain for four years. After talking to the town accountant regarding the state of the municipality's finances, he's made a realization.

"The ship I'm going to be running is Titanic," he said. " ... Hopefully it'll get better in the future, but we're all going to have to work together."


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