WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- As election officials continue studying the unofficial vote tallies, County Executive Robert Astorino, a Republican, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that Republicans will seize enough seats to break the Democratic lawmakers’ veto-proof supermajority.
“Democracy was strengthened because one party does not have absolute power now,” said Astorino, whose campaign to trim spending helped land him the county executive seat in 2010. “In the spirit of bipartisanship we can accomplish a lot more than one party simply ramming everything through without discussion or compromise.”
The Board of Elections’ released unofficial results Thursday that indicated three county seats were hovering within 300 votes. According to unofficial tallies, Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R-Tuckahoe) has just 39 votes more than John Fitzpatrick, her Democratic challenger. Republican Michael Smith appears to have 51% of the votes in his race with Legislator John Nonna (D-Pleasantville), and Legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers) leads Republican Terrence Murphy.
The unofficial results led Astorino to speak more confidently about the upcoming budget season, saying if Republicans gain at least one of the county legislative seats, Democrats would lose the supermajority that allowed nearly all of the budget line items vetoed by Astorino last year.
“The whole issue with the budget vetoes last year as to rescind spending and make some structural changes to the budget, and unfortunately they overrode 247 of the 249. We’re paying the price this year with deep deficits for a phantom revenue that was put in the budget,” said Astorino. “I think that what will change next year is we’ll be able to have the transparency that’s truly needed.”
Democrats agree that the loss of their supermajority will heavily influence the budget, and some, including Legislator William Ryan (D-White Plains), said he’s fearful that Astorino’s “seems willing to dismantle the county government” if it helps him “hit a number” with taxes or the budget.
“We’ve seen some rather extreme positions come out of the administration with respect to a variety of services and programs that are an essential part of the county’s mission. They fail to understand the responsibilities and authorities of the legislature,” Ryan has said. “That failure requires that there be a very strong system of checks and balances in the county government, which the loss of the supermajority threatens.”
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