Patrick Vecchio: 40 years in Long Island politics

Smithtown politician Patrick Vecchio, the longest-serving town supervisor in Long Island history, will leave office at the end of this year, after losing a close vote to a rival from his own party last week.

When he began overseeing Smithtown in 1978, he embarked on a political career that ultimately would span seven U.S. presidents and witness a world of change over four decades.

Below, see milestones from Vecchio’s career on the left, and, on the right, major world events that occurred during the course of his time as Smithtown town supervisor.

Dec. 8, 1977

Vecchio defeats Republican town Supervisor Charles Cacciabaudo by 67 votes.

Jan. 20, 1981

Ronald Reagan becomes president. Iran hostage crisis ends.


Wages unsuccessful campaign to unseat state Sen. James Lack.

Nov. 5, 1985

Wins fifth two-year term as supervisor.

January 28, 1986

Space shuttle Challenger disaster

May 25, 1989

At Smithtown Town Hall, 1989

Endorsed by Smithtown Republicans for re-election, the first time he receives bipartisan backing.

Nov. 7, 1989

Wins seventh term – and first four-year term. (Voters in 1988 had approved extending the supervisor’s term.)

Nov. 9, 1989

Berlin Wall falls.

Feb. 13, 1990

Switches parties in bid to unseat Democratic County Executive Patrick Halpin.

Sept. 12, 1991

Loses both Republican and Conservative county executive primaries.

July 17, 1996

TWA Flight 800 crashes off Long Island.

Sept. 11, 2001

Credit: AP

World Trade Center attacks.

June 29, 2007

The first iPhone is released.

Nov. 3, 2009

Vecchio in 2006.

Wins 12th term as supervisor, defeating Democrat Patricia Biancaniello.

Nov. 6, 2012

Barack Obama is elected president for a second term.

Sept. 10, 2013

Defeats Councilman Robert Creighton in Republican primary. Goes on to win November general election.

Jan. 20, 2017

Donald Trump becomes president.

Sept. 25, 2017

Concedes defeat in Republican primary to Councilman Edward Wehrheim.