While most of the election contests went as expected in New York City, the biggest races outside the five boroughs were the most exciting ones to watch. Here are the key details on two county executive races and an upstate mayoral contest.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE
George Latimer: 58%
Rob Astorino: 42%
(as of 12:11 a.m. with 600 of 949 districts reporting)
Republican County Executive Rob Astorino has been denied a third term by Democratic state Sen. George Latimer. The incumbent had hoped for a convincing win, as he is reportedly mulling another challenge against Gov. Andrew Cuomo – who undoubtedly is pleased to see a potential 2018 rival weakened or even knocked out of contention for another statewide bid.
Democrats have a 2-to-1 registration advantage among active voters in the county, and they made it count. Latimer overcame a fundraising disadvantage, in which Astorino had three times his war chest at one point, with $1.7 million on hand to Latimer’s $500,000.
“We are going to run this county well, we’re going to run it on progressive values, we’re going to keep your taxes in line, but we’re going to be about more than just taxes,” Latimer said during his acceptance speech. “We’re going to be about jobs, about housing, about transportation, about health care – and taxes!”
While the main focus of the race was fiscal issues, like property taxes, pundits will no doubt make much of this win in the home county of Hillary Clinton – Astorino was a Donald Trump supporter. It’s worth noting that the Trump brothers live in Westchester as well.
NASSAU COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Laura Curran announcing victory. (via Twitter)
Laura Curran: 50.99%
Jack Martins: 48.28%
Cassandra Lems 0.69%
The two major-party candidates both running on an anti-corruption and reform platform were neck and neck throughout the eventing with Democrat Laura Curran narrowly securing a win with a margin of less than 8,000 votes, or 2.71 percentage points.
Curran and Republican Jack Martins both made ethics a centerpiece of their campaigns, with specific plans for reform and by knocking their opponents as corrupt. Martins and his supporters criticized Curran for hiring BerlinRosen, a consulting firm involved with the investigations into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Meanwhile, Curran, who enjoyed a fundraising advantage over Martins, tried to tie her opponent to Dean Skelos, noting his initial support of the disgraced former state Senate majority leader after his arrest on corruption charges. Curran will succeed Republican County Executive Ed Mangano, who is also facing corruption allegations that forced him to not run for re-election.
“Tonight, Nassau voted to end the culture of corruption,” Curran said on Tuesday night, according to Newsday.
Also on the ballot was Green Party candidate Cassandra Lems, who barely registered with less than 1 percent of the vote.
Ben Walsh. (Photo courtesy Ben Walsh for Mayor)
Ben Walsh: 54.33%
Juanita Perez Williams: 38.02%
Howie Hawkins: 4.05%
Laura Lavine: 2.46%
Joe Nicoletti: 1.04%
(with 100% of precincts reporting)
Ben Walsh, a former city commissioner who ran as an independent running on the Reform, Independence and Upstate Jobs party lines, won the mayoral election with a commanding share of the vote, besting the competition by 16 percentage points.
Walsh, who outraised Juanita Perez Williams throughout the race, but who trailed her in an Oct. 10 poll, took home a comfortable lead on election night. The race had narrowed to these two candidates, neither of whom had ever run for elected office. He is the first independent elected as mayor of Syracuse in more than a century, Syracuse.com reported.
Syracuse voters were looking for change, and they were always going to get it, with Mayor Stephanie Miner stepping down. Perez Williams, a lawyer and U.S. Navy veteran, had hoped to be Syracuse’s first Latina mayor. Also on the ballot were former school superintendent Laura Lavine on the Republican line, perennial Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Joe Nicoletti, the Working Families Party nominee who had stopped campaigning and endorsed Perez Williams.