Republican candidate James Mazzarella took the unofficial special election win for the 3rd Suffolk County Legislative District seat on Tuesday, May 25 with a total of just over 60 percent of the vote or 3,207 votes. Former legislator Kate Browning garnered just under 40 percent of the vote with a total of 2,106 votes. Less than one percent of the votes included write-ins.
“I think that this is a testament to the hard strong work that the republican leadership has done in the third legislative district over the last four years,” said Suffolk County Republican Committee chairman Jesse Garcia. “They elected a champion of the middle-class families by electing James Mazzarella, overwhelmingly.”
Garcia also made note of the democratic party’s “attempt to stifle voters” by arguing the logistics of term limits. Shortly after, Browning announced a campaign run in an effort to return to the 3rd Legislative District seat, the GOP filed a term-limit lawsuit claiming she could not run again. However, after a supreme court decision was overturned, the New York State Appellate Court issued a ruling on May 5, permitting Browning to run.
The special election was held to fill former Legis. Rudy Sunderman’s vacated seat as of March. Earlier this year, Sunderman announced he would be stepping down to pursue a career in the fire/EMS field as the Suffolk County Fire Academy director.
Browning was term-limited in 2017 after 12 years in office. She went on to run in a Democratic primary to challenge Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin in 2018. She is currently the director of code enforcement for the Town of Babylon.
"We're proud of Kate and the positive campaign she ran on her proven record of getting things done for our community and being tough on corruption, regardless of party," said Keith Davies, campaign manager. "While the results weren't what we hoped for, Kate's committed to fighting for the district and winning in November."
Mazzarella, a Moriches resident, promises to be a full-time legislator. He is a lifelong resident of the community and a 1984 William Floyd High School graduate. Mazzarella served on the Board of Trustees of the Crystal Beach Property Owner’s Association for 15 years, and for a decade on the Mastic, Shirley Moriches Community Library, where he served as president from 2013-2018. He has also been a member of the Rotary Club of Shirley and the Mastics since 1998 and a member of the Town of Brookhaven Board of Zoning appeals in 2019 as well.
“The overwhelming results of tonight’s election are an affirmation that a positive campaign about issues and people resonates with voters,” he said hours after the unofficial results were reported. “I am appreciative and thankful for the trust the voters have placed in me. I look forward to serving all the people of the district.”