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Krupski Wins Open Legislature Seat in Landslide

Erin Schultz & Lisa Finn
Riverhead Patch

Southold Town will have to find another councilman.

Southold Town Councilman Al Krupski defeated Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter during a special election Tuesday night for a seat on the Suffolk County Legislature.

Unofficial results on the Suffolk County Board of Elections website show Krupski with 6,561 votes to Walter's 3,182 – 67 percent of the vote – with all 65 election districts reporting.

Krupski thanked a crowd of Democrats at Dark Horse Restaurant in downtown Riverhead, though said the upcoming resignation from his current post will be bittersweet.

"It's been a great experience learning the whole district and the whole county," he said, adding later that "it's really hard to have to leave such a good group of workmen. We got so much accomplished, it was hard to leave that seat."

According to Rich Schaffer, chair of the Suffolk County Democrats, it should take about a week to certify the election's vote. Krupski will then officially resign his Southold post.

Walter, who defeated Democrat Phil Cardinale for a second straight term in 2011, called the defeat "stunning," though walked over to Dark Horse – coming from Cody's BBQ and Grill, a few doors down – to shake the victor's hand.

"I'm going to do something I never thought I'd do: cede to Al Krupski," Walter said. "But he won the race. It was a fair race ... in some ways it was a stunning defeat. We did everything we could possibly do to win this race."

Results show more than double the number of Democrats came out to vote in Krupski than Republicans did for Walter – 5,665 to 2,134.

"You can see the Democrats got the Democrats out to vote," said Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy, who serves on the town board with Walter. "The Republicans did not get the Republican voters out ... On the good side he gets to stay as our supervisor. He's a good man and he's doing good things for our town."

The special election follows Ed Romaine's win on Election Night to earn the Brookhaven Supervisor's seat. Walter earned the nod to take his place as the Republican nominee and Al Krupski was endorsed by the state Democratic Committee for the First Legislative District seat.

During the campaign, Walter touted his experience as Riverhead's supervisor as well, as opposed to "someone who just sits as a town board member. Being the CEO of a town, as much as anyone really can be, is a different task."

Krupski, a former Trustee who runs Krupski's Pumpkin and Vegetable Farm in Cutchogue and has been on the Southold Town Board since 2005, was named as County Democrat Chairman Rich Schaffer's candidate of choice on Election Night.

The Riverhead supervisor ended up topping a field of eight GOP candidates who were seeking the seat. The following individuals also screened: Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio; Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy; Bill Faulk, Chief Aide to Romaine; Catherine Stark, Chief Aide to Legislator Jay Schneiderman; Jim Saladino, former Riverhead Conservative Committee chairman; and Frank Seabrook, a ZBA member and publisher of the online New York Liberty Report.

Krupski said in mid-November that the county's role in preserving the character of the area is one of the biggest reasons he's running for the seat.

“There are so many issues of land preservation and dredging and maintenance of our local waterways that is taken care of by the county,” he said. “I think it’s important to have that kind of balance of representation in the legislature.”