Wow. The Democratic tsunami and voter demand for change of last November roll on, reaching all the way into local villages in the Lower Hudson Valley. Yesterday’s election for mayors, village board trustees and, in some places, village justices, certainly was not the same-old, same-old.
In Croton-on-Hudson, Democrats swept back into power by a thin margin on a theme of economic redevelopment. In unofficial results, Democratic challenger Leo Wiegman beat by 20 votes current Mayor Greg Schmidt, who was seeking a third term. Wiegman’s running mates, Demetra Restuccia and Ian Murtaugh, narrowly beat Republican incumbents Trustees Thomas Brennan and Susan Konig for seats on the village board.
For the first time in 22 years, Sleepy Hollow Democrats gained complete control of village government, as current Trustee Kenneth Wray, a Democrat, beat Republican candidate Alan Singer for the mayor’s post. Likewise, for trustees, political newcomers Evelyn Stupel, Bruce Campbell and Barbara Carr swept the election, defeating Republican Trustee Maria Rose DeMilia, and candidates Robert Higle and Bruce Lozito.
In Port Chester’s mayoral race, Democratic incumbent Dennis Pilla held on to the top post, beating Republican challenger Bill Villanova.
Of course, not all was lost for Republicans; likable Republican newcomer Brian C. Smith, for example, beat Democratic appointee Terence J. Masterson by 37 votes for a one-year unexpired term on Irvington’s village board dominated by Democrats — until now.
In the “change” category, Pleasantville Trustee Peter Scherer, on the Village Party line, defeated by 200 votes two-term Mayor Bernard Gordon, backed by the New Pleasantville Party.
In Putnam’s Cold Spring, 16-year incumbent Mayor Anthony Phillips was defeated by challenger Seth Gallagher, a sitting trustee. Another incumbent, Trustee Edward Mancari, also lost his bid for re-election. Bruce Campbell, who had previously served two terms as village trustee and currently sits on the Haldane school board, and newcomer John Ralph Falloon, a firefighter with deep roots in the village, will become new trustees. Phillips and Mancari ran together on the Action Party; the other candidates ran separately on their own independent lines.
These were all fascinating races, among those you can still get a glimpse into by going to LoHud.com/editorialspotlight and clicking “On Demand” under the screen and selecting videos of recent interviews with the candidates by the Editorial Board. You also can learn more about the candidates — and their promises — at www.LoHud.com/villageelex09.
The natives — er, voters — clearly were restless this village election season. And numbers aren’t all in yet, but voter turnout does seem to have been higher than in many previous years. You have to wonder what this portends for school trustee elections May 19 — and those local school district budgets that taxpayers so very much love.