The contentious race to replace Jack Eddington as the next Suffolk County legislator in the 7th District is nowhere near being decided.
As it stands, Democrat Rob Calarco leads Republican John Giannott by 103 votes--6,051-5,948--after the ballots were tallied on Tuesday.
Those figures, however, do not include nearly 500 absentee ballots, with more coming in Wednesday and Thursday, according to Giannott, a political who runs two Bellport businesses.
"I believe we had a very strong absentee ballot program we mailed to everybody," said Giannott, of Patchogue. "We think we have the upper hand in the absentee ballot program."
Both candidates agree the race is likely headed for a recount.
“I’m still feeling very optimistic that I’m going to come out on top," said Calarco, who currently as Eddington's chief-of-staff, " but I’m not going to get ahead of myself and we are going to wait for the Board of Elections."
Giannott said he believes it could be two weeks before a winner is confirmed.
“The people have voted, the votes are in the house, this is going to be up to our chairman and party’s attorneys to sit there and see which votes are valid and not valid," said Giannott, who added that his campaign has "major questions" regarding some issues being reported with the new voting machines.
"At the end of the day, this election is going to be literally decided by less than 10 votes," Giannott said.
In a Congressional race last year, it took more than a month for incumbent Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, to victory over Republican candidate Randy Altschuler following a recount. There were nearly 200,000 votes cast in that race, however, a far cry from the 12,000 in the 7th LD.
"We are going talking a much smaller area," Calarco said, "not anything nearly of the size that happened during Congressman Bishop's race. And I also think the Board [of Elections has learned from some of the mistakes of the past."
Calarco, who was raised upstate and recently purchased a home in Patchogue, said that while it was a tight race, he was happy to be on top...at least for the time being.
"I think that's a very good place to be," he said. "I think my position will hold."
The 7th Legislative District includes Patchogue, Medford, Holtsville and Blue Point.