Westchester Voters Paint County Blue
If the polls from this year show any trend for the 2018 elections, it is that Democrats are no longer resisting, but pushing back. This past election, an overwhelming amount of previously Red seats have gone Blue, the most notable flip for Westchester County is the County Executive Elect, George Latimer.
The polls show that Latimer won with 57 percent of the vote, the remaining 43 went to Rob Astorino who conceded and is pledging to support Latimer in the transition period.
“We are going to run this county well, we are going to run it on progressive values, we are going to keep taxes in line but we are going to know more than just taxes,” Latimer said after his victory was confirmed. “We are going to be about jobs, about housing, about transportation, about health care, and taxes.”
Politico reported that of the elections taking place across the nation, the Westchester County Executive race was among one of 15 major races that could hold national level implications. A popular consensus from news outlets is that the major Democrat victories can be attributed to the Anti-Trump factor.
“Regarding the tick in turnout on the opposition side, this is generally expected. President Trump surely is a factor,” said WCC political science professor, George Keteku. “More important though is a phenomenon in Political Science called ‘grievance asymmetry.’ After presidential elections, voters are never satisfied by whatever the president does by way of policy. They punish the next set of candidates from the president’s party the first chance they get thereafter.”
While ads of Astorino supporting Trump and receiving campaign donations from Robert Mercer who also backed Trump in the presidential election may have driven some voters to the polls, there was a positive factor as well. Latimer supports unions.
Among the endorsers, the WCCFT had pledged support towards Astorino’s democratic opponent and the union is “delighted” at the poll results.
“Like everyone, we were amazed at the margin of winning,” said WCCFT Treasurer, Don Shernoff. The predictions showed the race was going to be neck to neck, but the final result showed a titlewave of support for the Progressive based candidate, Latimer.
The odds never looked to be in Latimer’s favor. Historically speaking, there have only been two Democratic County Executives in Westchester in the last century and Astorino’s campaign outspent Latimer at rates of 3 to 1. In Westchester, Democrats outnumber Republicans and it showed this November at the polls with an energized voting base.
For the WCCFT, voting for Astorino would mean voting against their own interests. Astorino has been known to take an anti union stance with the legislation. Prior to election day, Latimer met with Don Weigand who is the Chair of Political Action for WCCFT and pledged to support the union with their contracts.
“Provide the Board of Legislators with the agreed upon contract for workers at Westchester Community College for their review and adoption,” reads one of the points in Latimer’s first year plan on his campaign website. As the future County Executive, he has placed the WCCFT as a priority along with other unions who are facing contract complications like the Civil Service Employees Association and Westchester police departments.
The County Executive Elect also wants to prohibit certain events on county property such as gun shows, eliminate the likeness of elected officials from public parks and buildings for self promotion in election cycles, reduce energy consumption, and address the opioid crisis.
In addition to these issues, Latimer made it public that he intends to sign an Executive Order to protect immigrants upon consultation with community members and law enforcement. Rob Astorino had the opportunity of passing the Immigration Protection Act with the County Legislators, but vetoed back in September.