Gillen's victory in Hempstead shakes up GOP stronghold

Posted: Updated:
HEMPSTEAD -

Laura Gillen, an attorney from Rockville Centre, defeated Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino Tuesday to become the first Democrat to ever win that office.

"I really did believe I was going to win," Gillen told News 12 Long Island. "I kind of felt like everything was trending the right way and that people were frustrated."

Santino had openly fought with two fellow Republican Town Board members, Erin King-Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman. The feud included nasty exchanges at public meetings. That led to them both endorsing the Democratic candidate. 

WATCH: Extended interview with Laura Gillen after election win 

"There was no doubt that the residents saw what was going on in the Town of Hempstead at our Town Board meetings. The supervisor was a dictator, clear and simple," said King-Sweeney.

Gillen says she doesn't believe there is a Republican or Democratic way to run a municipality. 

"There's a good way and there's a bad way. And what we've had is a bad way," said Gillen. 

COMPLETE ELECTION RESULTS

Hempstead is the largest township in the country, with more than 750,000 residents. It has also always been the major source of power for Nassau Republicans.

Santino issued a statement congratulating Laura Gillen on her victory and pledged to work together to ensure a smooth transition when she takes office.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."