A New York state senator will face incumbent Republican Rob Astorino in the November election for Westchester County executive. Democrat George Latimer won his party’s primary with 63 percent of the vote on Tuesday.
State Senator George Latimer of Rye says the effort to take back the county has only just begun.
“I think we’re going to offer a very strong alternative in November, and I’m out there working it right now,” says Latimer.
Latimer won the nomination of the county Democratic convention in May. County Legislator Ken Jenkins of Yonkers had vowed to continue to a primary if he did not emerge the convention’s nominee. Latimer says he had a cordial conversation with Jenkins Tuesday night. Latimer, who represents the 37th Senate district, says he and Jenkins are united on policy heading into the general election.
“If the opportunity comes to reach out and hire, bring into an administration, qualified people, Ken’s at the top of my list,” Latimer says.
Jenkins did not return a request for comment. Speaking Wednesday morning, Latimer considered his primary win.
“We’ve united the Democratic Party, and the Working Families, Women’s Equality, Independence, and we believe there were four parties, into a movement for change in Westchester County. And that’s really what this is about,” Latimer says. “It isn’t about a personal victory. It’s about a hunger and a desire that a lot of people have to change the direction of Westchester County.”
A spokeswoman for Astorino’s campaign, in an emailed comment, says, "This will be an election featuring a county executive who's kept his promise not to raise taxes for eight straight years versus an Albany politician who's spent 30 years raising taxes to ridiculous levels. Westchester voters simply can't afford George Latimer."
Latimer calls Astorino’s tax relief claims “not entirely accurate.” Astorino, who is seeking a third term and has a large war chest, said before the spring county Democratic convention that he stood ready to compare and contrast records with whoever emerged as his opponent.
“I’m just going to run on my record. Nothing’s changing no matter who they put up. And I’m proud of not having raised taxes, and cutting them, for the last seven years, and strengthening our social safety net, protecting the environment and working with people across party lines. I mean, that’s how we’ve gotten things done in the county,” says Astorino.
Astorino, who ran for governor in 2014, has won decisively in a county where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2-to-1. Latimer has noted he has won his Republican-leaning district three times despite being outspent. While not ruling out another gubernatorial run in 2018, Astorino has said he is focused only on the race for county executive. Latimer remains doubtful.
“It’s pretty obvious Rob wants to be governor. I’m running to be county executive for the next four years,” says Latimer. “I truthfully don’t think he’s going to spend more than four days after an election if he wins thinking about being county executive. I think he’s going to move immediately up to Otsego Oswego, Owego and all the other places that he’s going to travel to.”
The general election is November 7.