In Rockland, just the fact that so many challengers filled the ballot could be counted as a shakeup. Alas, at the end of a long night (made longer by the slow counting methods of the Rockland Board of Elections) it was pretty much status quo.
Of course, the top of the ticket changed, with a new county executive for the first time in 20 years. But Rockland, as Blue as can be in voter registration rolls, once again elected a Republican county executive.
Ed Day, who often has been an independent voice, even in his own party in the Rockland County Legislature, won a clear victory, topping David Fried, a former Spring Valley judge and county legislator, by more than 4,000 votes.
Day has been critical of county government — considering Rockland’s $128 million deficit and lowest-in-the-state bond rating, hardly a surprise. But he has held nothing back, even though the incumbent county executive is a fellow Republican.
While Fried and Day were amiable for the most part, a slew of anonymous mailers took care of the mudslinging against Fried — first during the Democratic primary and then, despite a pledge by both candidates to skip such parrying, during the general election. The ads reported Fried as taking money from shady characters (including a philanthropist who years later was uncovered as a crook) and in cahoots with Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence and the bloc vote. (St. Lawrence wins in his town handily but he’s controversial countywide and widely perceived as allowing rampant downzoning in town to cater to the quickly growing ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic community, which wields power with its bloc vote.)
On Monday, swastikas were found on signs for Fried (who is Jewish and the grandson of Holocaust survivors) and Ramapo Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence.
Meanwhile, four of five town supervisors stayed in office — in Orangetown, the race was thisclose, with incumbent Democrat Andy Stewart within 36 votes (unofficial tally) of Walter Wettje . As for this being the year that would smash the bloc vote in Ramapo, St. Lawrence, and Yitzy Ullman and Pat Withers held their Town Board seats.
And Clarkstown voters kept Alex Gromack at the helm, after much grousing about his stronghold on most party lines (his challenger ran on the newfangled Preserve Rockland line, an expansion of the Preserve Ramapo line that had long been anti-St. Lawrence.) But there was a shift — in the Clarkstown superintendent of highways race. Democrat Dennis Malone came within 263 (unofficial) votes of Wayne Ballard, the longtime highways chief who had every other ballot line. This can be seen as the “Sparaco effect”; Rockland Legislator Frank Sparaco’s $75,000 part-time job rankled many in town, and further added to the tension among town leaders and a growing anti-tax group.