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Trump, Taxes Seen As Keys To Latimer's Decisive Westchester County Exec Win

State Sen. George Latimer thanked campaign supporters on Tuesday night during an "election celebration" party at Rosemary & Vine restaurant in his hometown of Rye. The Democrat upset Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Hawthorne Republican.
State Sen. George Latimer thanked campaign supporters on Tuesday night during an "election celebration" party at Rosemary & Vine restaurant in his hometown of Rye. The Democrat upset Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Hawthorne Republican. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Democrat George Latimer, winner of Tuesday's race for Westchester County Executive, mingles with supporters during a party at Rosemary & Vine restaurant in his hometown of Rye. The state senator upset two-term Republican Rob Astorino of Hawthorne.
Democrat George Latimer, winner of Tuesday's race for Westchester County Executive, mingles with supporters during a party at Rosemary & Vine restaurant in his hometown of Rye. The state senator upset two-term Republican Rob Astorino of Hawthorne. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Campaign signs declaring: "Latimer Raises Our Taxes. . .But Won't Pay HIS!"   popped up along roadways in Westchester last weekend alongside pro-Latimer signs. These ones were in the Town of Greenburgh.
Campaign signs declaring: "Latimer Raises Our Taxes. . .But Won't Pay HIS!" popped up along roadways in Westchester last weekend alongside pro-Latimer signs. These ones were in the Town of Greenburgh. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
State Sen. George Latimer, a Democrat from Rye, answered reporters' questions last month about a federal corruption investigation in which a witness testified he donated to County Executive Rob Astorino's campaign in exchange for an appointment.
State Sen. George Latimer, a Democrat from Rye, answered reporters' questions last month about a federal corruption investigation in which a witness testified he donated to County Executive Rob Astorino's campaign in exchange for an appointment. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

This story has been updated.

Poll
How much of a factor do you think President Donald Trump played in Democratic challenger George Latimer's win over Republican Rob Astorino in the Westchester County Executive race?
Current Results

How much of a factor do you think President Donald Trump played in Democratic challenger George Latimer's win over Republican Rob Astorino in the Westchester County Executive race?

  • Huge factor
    58%
  • Somewhat of a factor
    24%
  • None at all
    18%

It's the morning after in Westchester.

State Sen. George Latimer upset two-term incumbent Rob Astorino on Tuesday in the race for Westchester County Executive as reported here by Daily Voice.

Latimer joined others in citing voters' frustration with President Donald J. Trump as a leading factor in his win, which attracted national attention.

Final results gave Latimer a decisive 57 percent to 43 percent margin of victory.

"Democrats, a mighty wave has hit Westchester County," Latimer told supporters during his victory speech at The Coliseum bar in White Plains.

While Trump’s unpopularity helped the 63-year-old Rye Democrat, Latimer said many voters told him they wanted local change, including lower taxes. Latimer also thinks Astorino’s negative campaign ads backfired.

High property taxes will be among Latimer's priorities when he begins the $160,760-a-year job in January, but he's taking nothing for granted.

“This is not a blank check from the voters to me," Latimer said. "This is a promissory note from me to the voters."

The mood was somber at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains when Astorino emerged to give his concession speech:

"It has been my honor to serve as county executive, I can't think of a better honor, and I will continue to be and have the honor of being your friend and your neighbor," Astorino said.

Astorino promised 100 percent support to Latimer during the transition.

In three decades, Latimer has never lost any of his 18 elections. He first won elective office in 1987, winning the first of two terms on the Rye City Council.

Latimer then served 13 years on the Westchester County Board of Legislators, including four years as chairman, before his election to state office. In 2004, Latimer was elected to the state Assembly and he has been a state senator for the past five years.

“People want to know that they have a government that responds to them and not just. . . talks down to them,” Latimer said.

Latimer gained name recognition while winning a Democratic Party primary in September over county Legislator Ken Jenkins of Yonkers en route to Tuesday's general election.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 in Westchester County. And voter turnout was strong on Tuesday, especially in Yonkers and Mount Vernon -- where Latimer grew up.

"George Latimer shows the impact of the Trump effect on politics in New York -- we are an inclusive county," said Connie L. Lobur, associate professor of political science at SUNY Purchase.

"Add to that a Westchester politician who has been consistently for all the people. His election reflects what New York stands for," Lobur reacted after Latimer's easy win.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki of Garrison agreed that an anti-Trump backlash helped elect Latimer.

Pataki -- a former Peekskill mayor and early contender for the presidency -- told local Republicans during an Election Night party at The Quiet Man that anti-Trump voters spoke countywide by denying Astorino a third four-year term as Westchester's top elected official.

Political observers said Latimer may have received a huge infusion of campaign money from state Democrats, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New Castle, during the final weeks as polling found him running neck-and-neck with Astorino.

Astorino tried, but failed to become governor of New York in 2014, and was expected to mount another challenge against Cuomo next fall.

In addition to Cuomo, Latimer received campaign help from Hillary Clinton of Chappaqua and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Other political observers said that strong, well-organized union opposition to calling a state Constitutional Convention, as well as increased voter turnout over the pension ballot issue helped Latimer.

Latimer pointed to a federal bribery investigation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio -- during which Astorino was accused by a witness of accepting a gold Rolex in exchange for favoritism -- as cause for ousting Astorino.

Astorino's campaign cited Latimer's failure to pay more than $46,000 in Rye property taxes on his late mother-in-law's estate as a reason to vote against the state senator.

The Republican campaign also outed Latimer for failing to disclose an injury accident in July, in which he was driving another state employee's car. Latimer later admitted to running a red light in New Rochelle and for continuing to drive a Jeep with a suspended registration -- due to about $2,000 in unpaid parking tickets and late fees.

Latimer made Election Night stops at Rosemary & Vine in Rye and Bar'lees Wine & Whisky Bar in Mamaroneck before declaring victory in White Plains.

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