At a packed ballroom in the Smithtown Sheraton on Tuesday night, State Sen. John J. Flanagan, R-East Northport, announced to the Suffolk County Republican Committee that he is "ready to head back to Albany and do the right thing by the tax payers of Suffolk County, Long Island and New York."
Challenger Ira Bernstein conceded at 11:30 p.m., with less than half of the districts reporting.
Flanagan edged out Bernstein with a tally of 69.98 percent to 30.11 percent as of 11:30 p.m., as reported by Suffolk County Board of Elections. These results reflect 102 districts out of 229 – 35,918 votes cast out of 83,569.
"I want to be safe, but I will concede," Bernstein told Patch by phone. "I do want to say that it is harder to win when the Democratic Committee picks which candidates they want to support, you need more help when the incumbent candidate has been in office for as long as Flanagan has."
Flanagan declared victory with his speech at 10 p.m., and thanked the committee members for their support, from knocking on doors, talking to their friends and assisting the Committee throughout the election season.
"We are extremely proud Flanagan has done a tremendous job representing the community and they have responded by supporting him overwhelmingly," Suffolk County Republican Committe Chairman John Jay LaValle said. "I believe he's a rising star in the New York State Republican Committee."
County Executive Steve Levy also attended the event and spoke passionately to attendees.
"Every so often the people in this county, state and nation send a message,'' Levy said. "They are sick and tired of people in government spending their money like drunken sailors. This is democracy at it's finest."
"This is our time, thank you for all your hard work, enjoy this party and expect to see big results tonight," LaValle said.
Frank and Patricia Campanelli, of Lake Grove, said they attended the event because they worked on Randy Altschuler's campaign.
"I campaigned for Altschuler because I am conservative. I've lived in Lake Grove for 48 years and I want the country to go back to being conservative. I wasn't happy with the voting process today, it wasn't explained properly, but I hope it doesn't effect the outcome negatively," Frank said.
Campanelli further said that the ballot was not properly explained at his voting location, with the location of the propositions on the back neglected by officials.
Alicia Cassidy, of St. James, is a member of the Tea Party and the Conservative Society for Action. Cassidy said she feels very strongly about the situation in Washington.
"I don't agree with Obama. I wasn't into politics before, but I'm into it now. I am concerned by the big government and the interference in our personal lives. The biggest issue for Long Islanders is our property taxes – we can't afford to live in our homes," she said.Candidate Votes Percent John J. Flanagan 25,104 69.89 Ira Bernstein 10,814 30.11