Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming defeated Rocky Point lawyer , gathering close to 80 percent of votes, in a Democratic primary race Thursday for New York State's First Senate District, Board of Election results show.
Preliminary results show Fleming with 2,031 votes to Maertz's 531, with all election districts reporting.
Fleming will go on to face state Sen. Kenneth LaValle, who has held the seat since 1976.
Addressing her campaign staff and supporters at The Waters Edge in East Moriches, Fleming said on Thursday that Maertz had conceded the race, and credited a grassroots campaign coupled with her experience in public office — and beforehand — as the keys to the wide margin of victory.
"I congratulated her on the good work she's done in the community and hope to continue to work with her on common goals," Fleming said.
Pointing to the results, she said, "I was twice elected as the only Democrat on the Southampton Town Board. I think people see me as having been effective in that role ... and as a public official I have proven I can win elections as a Democrat in this district."
Maertz, in her concession speech at Ruby Tuesday's in Miller Place, pointed to a funding gap between the two candidates, which accounted for at least part of the gap in votes.
According to an 11-day pre-primary campaign finance disclosure, Maertz held $3,588 in the bank. Fleming's campaign had $57,554.
"It didn’t work out this time," she said. "I respect the fact that money does play a big role in politics and in this race, this primary with exceptionally low turnout, this was about who had the money to get the most people out of their doors and that’s what happened. It was the democratic process at play here tonight and I respect that process."
Maertz — who — said she was unsure if she would re-enter politics in the future.
"This doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop working for the community. I ran to serve this district. Just because I’m not going to do it as a State Senator doesn’t mean I’m not going to serve this district. I’m going to continue to volunteer my time and efforts to help better this district."
LaValle released the following statement on Friday morning: "No matter who the opponent, I have always run on my record. I am proud of my exceptionally strong record of economic development, job creation, and real property tax relief and proud of the support I have received in the form of endorsements thus far."
The state Senator touted endorsements from the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum; the Sierra Club; Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, New York State Unified Teachers, and Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of New York.
Fleming already has the endorsement of the Working Families Party. She first entered politics during a Southampton Town Board race in 2009. Although she lost that bid, four months later she was elected to the board in a special election. She was then . She also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
She is a matrimonial attorney and a graduate of Hunter College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Fleming had a career as an assistant district attorney, working in the sex crimes prosecution unit and later as chief of the welfare fraud unit under New York District Attorney Robert Morganthau. She served as an ADA in New York from 1991 to 2000.
Maertz lost to LaValle in 2010 by a 2-1 ratio after she stepped into the race late in the game to replace now-Deputy County Executive Regina Calcaterra, who was kicked off the ballot due to a residency qualification challenge.
who graduated from St. John’s University, Touro Law School, and received her MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. Maertz has a history serving on local civic and youth council boards, and has been recognized by the Town of Brookhaven for her volunteer efforts with local youth.
Preliminary Voting Results* Candidate Votes Percentage Bridget Fleming 2,031 79.1% Jennifer Maertz 531 20.7% write-ins 6 0.2%
* Results are not final until certified by the Board of Elections. Absentee and provisional ballots may still need to be counted.
Rich Arleo contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that there are 537 election districts in the First State Senate District. That is the number of E.D.'s for the entire county.