Democrat Steve Bellone — the Babylon town supervisor for the past 10 years — has defeated Republican treasurer Angie Carpenter in the race for Suffolk County executive.
With 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Bellone had 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Carpenter, according to unofficial results.
The new executive, the top elected official in eastern Long Island, faces an estimated $135-million deficit and the prospect of laying off more than 700 county workers.
The race was expected to be a contest that could have vaulted a popular incumbent into position as a favorite for the 2014 Republican nomination for governor.
But then Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced he would not run for a third term following an agreement with investigators looking into campaign fundraising irregularities.