Thursday, November 8, 2007

Election '07: What It Means In Westchester

A trusted Westchester source-in-the-know sends over this detailed analysis of just what Tuesday's results mean for Westchester County. Here's the report:


The big victory by Mayor Phil Amicone (R) over Councilmember Dennis Robertson (D) is a major defeat for allies of former Mayor (and former candidate for US Senate) John Spencer (R). Spencer and his allies were strongly for Robertson. Amicone governs as an apolitical technocrat and works well with most figures in both parties.

Amicone is term limited and therefore a lame duck. Expect Ken Jenkins (Democratic chair in Yonkers and a County Legislator) to begin grooming a strong Democrat for mayor, but not City Council Chuck Lesnick, who many see as a cross between a loose canon and a light weight.

Amicone himself must consider whether to run for County Executive in four years. His reputation as being on the level in hilly and crooked Yonkers would serve him well; but Democrats have a big edge in registration in Westchester. Amicone would have no difficulty picking up private employment.

Also in Yonkers, people are talking about how relatively close the Spreckman-Christiana race turned out: Incumbent Republican Bernice Spreckman 3,900, Democratic challenger Ger Christiana 2,900. Christiana's campaign appeared non-existent and those 2,900 votes pure hard core Democratic voters. Word is a Democrat who is known and willing to campaign vigorously could put the seat in play. This creates an interesting scenario for Spreckman. She is perceived as a reliable vote to support the programs and priorities of County Executive Andy Spano in part because her son has a patronage job with the county administration. But if she stays a Republican, Spreckman may well attract a strong Democratic challenger. If she switches to the Dems [previously she switched from the Dems to the GOP -- when the Republican County Executive (now Judge) Andy O'Rourke put the Spreckman heir on the payroll], then County Executive Spano could help preclude a primary. Anyway, the seat is seen in play.

Mount Vernon

The county Democratic organization rallied 'round the official Democratic candidate, County Legislator Clinton Young who won handily. Incumbent Ernie Davis lost the Democratic primary, continued the race to November, and got more than one third of the vote on the Independence and Conservative lines. This is a very Democratic city, but with 88% of the districts reporting, 42% of the voters voted otherwise than with the Democratic candidate. Republican County chairman Doug Colety will be looking at those numbers to see if an appropriately charismatic candidate could do well there as a County Executive race. Most observers see this deviation as a one shot incident with a powerful incumbent mayor using the power of incumbency to draw votes.

New Rochelle

Democratic Mayor Noam Bramson was re-elected with two thirds of the vote and appeared to have no coat-tails. Republicans held their one seat on the seven member council, won a second, and are (as of now) leading in a third district by seven votes.

County Board

Democrats picked up two seats on the 17 member board bringing their total to 14 and a half (Spreckman). That gives the Democrats the so-called super majority needed for bond acts. Most members of the 17 member board were unopposed, but two Republican incumbents faced strong campaigns. Minority Leader George Oros won re-election from northwest Westchester (Peekskill and environs) by 300 votes out of 9,300 votes cast.

Conservative Suzanne Swanson lost to Democrat John Nonna 44% to 56% in a central Westchester district centered around Pleasantville. It is expected that former legislator Rob Astorino will be more visible within the district and try to recapture it for the GOP in two years.

Republican Ursula LaMotte and Democrat Clinton Young were the only legislators not to seek re-election. Young will face the trials of being mayor of Mount Vernon and will be replaced on the county board by Mount Vernon City Council Member Lyndon Williams (D). LaMotte will face the trials of grandmother-hood and will be replaced by businessman Peter Harckham (D). Harckham defeated Republican Peter Michaelas 52% -- 48%, an indication that this high income area is becoming more and more Democratic.