Clavin claims win in Hempstead race, Gillen not conceding

Tom McCarthy
Donald Clavin is the apparent winner in the Town of Hempstead supervisor race against the incumbent Laura Gillen, who has not yet conceded as of Wednesday. (Photo by Rose Weldon)

The Republicans are back in town.

Republican Donald Clavin Jr. apparently recaptured the Hempstead supervisor seat in a tight race Tuesday night against incumbent Democrat Laura Gillen, who had not yet conceded as of Wednesday. 

Clavin led Gillen, who was seeking a second two-year term and is the first Democratic supervisor for the town in over 100 years, by 74,076 votes to 72,711, a difference of 1,365 votes. 

Diane Madden, the Libertarian candidate for town supervisor, received 1,270 votes.

“I’m just honored that the residents have given me this opportunity and we’re going to give them good government, tax relief and have a government that functions as a team,” Clavin said in an interview Tuesday.

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau Democratic Party, said at an election party Tuesday night that he asked Gillen not to concede yet because 5,500 absentee ballots still needed to be counted. 

“We’re down by about 1,400, 1,500 votes, so I’m not prepared to ask the candidate to concede. I’ve asked her not to do that,” Jacobs said. “We’re going to count every vote. We’re going to make sure we see where we’re at.”

Gillen’s campaign manager, Michael Ousley, did not return requests for comment Wednesday.

“Short of my own victory, I’m delighted that Donald Clavin has been elected and will be our new Supervisor,” Madden said in an email. Madden said that “within hours” of Clavin’s announcement speech, he contacted her and said he will work to reform the troubled animal shelter, an area of concern for Madden’s campaign.

In the race for the 2nd Councilmanic District, incumbent Republican Thomas Muscarella beat the Republican turned Democrat Thomas Tweedy. 

Muscarella, who was appointed to his town seat in April, beat Tweedy, the former Republican mayor of Floral Park, with 13,475 votes against Tweedy’s 10,836, a difference of 2,639 votes. 

Muscarella said that Clavin, Receiver of Taxes-elect Jeanine Driscoll and Town Clerk-elect Kate Murray are a “dream team” for the future of Hempstead. 

“They are as they stand before us, ‘The Avengers,’” Muscarella said. “Thank you for everything you do and giving us the power today to make this happen.”

Tweedy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a previous interview, Tweedy said that work is needed in the Town of Hempstead and criticized the “disunity and chaos” of the Town Board. He said that the Republican Party he knew has become the party of patronage and not the party of limited government.

The 2nd Councilmanic District includes Bellerose Terrace, Floral Park, Garden City, Garden City South, the incorporated area of New Hyde Park, Salisbury, South Floral Park, Stewart Manor, and portions of Bellerose, East Meadow, Elmont, Franklin Square, Hempstead, Uniondale and West Hempstead.

Murray, a former town supervisor, made her return to Hempstead, but this time as the town clerk. 

Murray beat the incumbent Democrat Sylvia Cabana with 74,302 votes against Cabana’s 71,541 votes, a difference of 2,761 votes. 

“The teamwork concept started right with [county Republican] Chairman [Joseph] Cairo eight months ago,” Murray said. “We have been a solid team and if Chairman Cairo has said his prayers for me then every night I said a prayer that I get to call Don Clavin ‘supervisor.'”

Cabana’s campaign did not respond to written requests for comment.

Clavin’s receiver of taxes seat stayed red with Driscoll, a Republican, beating her Democratic opponent, Chandra Ortiz, by 8,358 votes. 

Driscoll celebrated the GOP getting “back in control” at the Town of Hempstead. She also thanked her followers.

“Every single day we got up and worked hard but having you next to us helping made it a lot easier,” Driscoll said.

Ortiz did not immediately return requests for comment.

Despite hopes that the Democratic Party had an opportunity to win the 5th District seat after Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney’s departure from the race to move away with her family, Republican Christopher Carini nabbed the seat after announcing his candidacy six weeks ago. He defeated Democrat Lora Webster, who was initially facing King Sweeney.

Councilman Bruce Blakeman also kept his 3rd District seat in the election against Democrat Shari Renne James.

Rose Weldon and Rob Pelaez contributed reporting. 

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