Sunday, Apr 21st

George Latimer Scores Big Win in Race for Westchester County Executive

LatimerState Senator George Latimer pulled off a big victory in Westchester County, defeating two-term incumbent Rob Astorino to become Westchester County Executive. Though Astorino was initially in the lead, the margins narrowed in the weeks before the election. Latimer's supporters knew the vote would be close and a committed group of volunteers organized to bring out the vote. Latimer surprised everyone by winning 57% of the 206,230 votes cast, soundly defeating Astorino's 43%. Astorino, a former radio personality and producer was a rising star in the Republican Party and challenged Andrew Cuomo in the race for NYS Governor in 2014.

Latimer rode a wave of Democratic Party support across the country as voters expressed their frustration with Trump's policies. Key issues in Westchester include taxes, gun control, water safety, women's rights and the proposed privatization of Westchester County airport. A controversial $1 million donation to Astorino's campaign by Breitbart supporter Robert Mercer brought national politics to the local level and may have swayed some voters.

According to results from the Westchester County Board of Elections, Latimer won 66.79% of the vote in Scarsdale, getting 2,561 of the 3,834 votes cast for county executive.

Myra Saul headed up the volunteer effort in Scarsdale with Deborah Porder, Stephen Sherman and student Jack Greenspan. Commenting on the results, Saul said, "Many volunteers from Indivisible Westchester, Democratic clubs and local advocacy groups greatly helped Latimer, who never had the financial resources available to the Astorino campaign. People power was Latimer's secret sauce. Many people in Scarsdale volunteered for phone banks, postcard writing and canvassing events. Many of the volunteers had never been politically active before. A Scarsdale high school contingent was also active. While much of this activity reflected a desire to rid Westchester of a very conservative Republican who is associated with the Trump brand, there also was a deep desire to change the course of the county's policies. For example, many in Scarsdale were horrified at the gun show held last year at the County Center at which racist and anti - Semitic literature was available. Latimer has pledged that no gun shows will be held on county property. We can expect that Latimer will stop privatization of the airport and will be more diligent in addressing environmental concerns. Finally, Latimer has promised a return to a pragmatic, non-ideological county government. After the contentiousness of the Astorino era, many are looking forward to an administration that believes in government and a desire to get things done competently and in the public good."

 

Mark Lewis, who chairs the Scarsdale Democrats provided the following analysis of the race for County Executive and the Board of Legislators, where Scarsdale's representative Ben Boykin ran unopposed. He said, "Scarsdale went for George Latimer by a 2 to 1 margin. The win means that we will be going in a new direction in the County. George will be more supportive of helping non-profits who get funding from the County. The Democrats also won three more seats in the Legislature, probably signaling a change in leadership in January when the newly elected legislators and the new County Executive begin their terms in office."

He continued, "All the unions need new contracts and Astorino has not negotiated with them. George will have to find a way to settle new contracts. Astorino has let our County roads and other infrastructure deteriorate. George will be proactive in fixing the County infrastructure. He has pledged to increase the Planning Department so they can plan and implement improvements to the County infrastructure. He will not let bridges wait eight years, while pieces of the bridge fall on cars passing under them before repairing them, which is what happened on the Ardsley Road Bridge going over the Thruway in Greenburgh. He will not wait eight years to repair swimming pools such as the Sprain Brook pool, which had to be closed down for three years due to ill repair, before fixing them."LattimerEngel

He concluded, "Rob Astorino is presenting his last County budget so we do not know what that will look like. The new budget will be coming out in the next few days. George will have to live with an Astorino budget which will be passed before he takes office in January. Ben Boykin, who represents Scarsdale and White Plains, also won as he ran unopposed and will be one of the more senior legislators. Ben is a CPA and is very knowledgeable about budgets."

As for the three propositions on the ballot, here's how Westchester County voted:

Proposition One to convene a NYS Constitutional Convention was defeated 81% to 19%.

Proposition Two to allow courts to reduce or revoke the pensions of public officers who are convicted for felonies was approved 73% to 27%.

Proposition Three to permit the use of preserved forests for health and safety needs was approved 60% to 40%.

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