Errol Toulon Jr. up by 1,657 votes in Suffolk sheriff recount

Rick Brand

Democratic Suffolk sheriff candidate Errol Toulon Jr. is up by 1,657 votes with 76 percent of absentee ballots counted, and is on the verge of formally winning the election against Republican foe Larry Zacarese.

Zacarese on Wednesday withdrew his volunteers and ceased any further challenges at the county Board of Elections.

Democrats on Monday withdrew from the process that had resulted in fewer than 200 objections on both sides. Toulon had an unofficial election night lead of 1,352 votes.

To rebound, Zacarese would have to win more than 80 percent of about 4,600 absentee and affidavit ballots left, which all sides agreed was unlikely in what had been a tight race. Election officials said the recanvassing should be completed by Monday.

If the numbers hold, Toulon, a former deputy New York City corrections commissioner, will become Suffolk’s first African-American countywide elected official.

Zacarese, assistant chief of the Stony Brook University police, did not explicitly concede the race.

“We’re by no means giving up or conceding,” Zacarese said in an interview Wednesday with Jay Oliver on LI News Radio.

“We’re conceding that everyone’s vote counts and the process should move expeditiously to allow whoever is to become the new sheriff to at least have some sort of transition,” Zacarese said.

Said Toulon: “I’ll let the process play out and hopefully at the end I’ll be victorious.”

The latest developments come at the end of a roller coaster campaign in which the Conservative Party backed State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), who had no direct law enforcement experience, and pressured GOP leaders to back him as well.

Zacarese defeated Boyle soundly.

Toulon entered the race in mid-September as the Democrats’ third choice. Toulon had Conservative and Independence Party backing, and was supported by most local police unions.

The only other outstanding race is in the Suffolk Legislature’s Eighth District, where Democratic Legis. William Lindsay III is 243 votes ahead of Republican Anthony Piccirillo in unofficial returns.

There are 1,119 absentee and affidavit ballots. Of the absentees, 556 are from Republicans, 303 from Democrats and 173 from voters not aligned with any party. That recount, which also will include any outstanding ballots in the sheriff’s race, will begin Monday.