O'Keeffe & Myers Re-Elected With Wide Margins
In Village of Mamaroneck, Savolt & Robinowitz Unseat Trifiletti & Fava
by Judy Silberstein
(November 8, 2007) Larchmont voters stayed the course, helping to re-elect Mamaroneck Town Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe and Westchester County Legislator Judy Myers by major margins on Tuesday, November 6. In Mamaroneck Village races, however, voters favored the challengers, Kathy Savolt for mayor and Randi Robinowitz for trustee, over the incumbents, Phil Trifiletti and Tony Fava.
Re-elected without opposition were: Mamaroneck Town Councilwoman Phyllis Wittner (first elected in 1995) and Town Justice Jean Marie Brescia (first elected in 2003). Town Councilman David Fishman and Town Clerk Christian Battalia, who had both been appointed to fill vacancies, ran unopposed for their first full terms.
Unofficial Results - Westchester County Board of Elections
Updated Nov 8 from Westchester County Board of elections data, absentee ballots not included
Mamaroneck Town: O'Keeffe 69%; Odierna 31%
This was the first contested race for Ms. O’Keeffe since 1999, when she defeated Paul Ryan to earn her first term as supervisor.
The strain was starting to show last week as Ms. O’Keeffe, a Republican, admitted some trepidation. “I was anxious that the voters’ attitudes toward the national Republican Party would cause a very adverse effect on my chances,” she said. Anti-Bush sentiment and a big get-out-the-vote push by Mamaroneck Village Democrats had potential for favoring her opponent, Trustee Ernie Odierna, a Democrat. During the campaign, Ms. O’Keeffe, the only Republican on the five-member board, downplayed the role of party politics and highlighted her good relationships with leaders from all sides. Campaign literature included supportive letters from Democrats and mentioned her appointment to head a flooding task force by Westchester Executive Andy Spano, a Democrat.
According to the Westchester County Board of Elections, Democrats outnumber Republicans in Mamaroneck Town by a significant factor: 7571 or 45% of the 16,823 voters on the active rolls are registered Democrats, versus 4667 or 28% listed as Republicans. Another 3925 or 23% are not registered with any party.
In the final few days of the campaign, there was public discontent over traffic tie-ups at the Myrtle-Chatsworth-Murray intersection associated with new lights and turn restrictions. Traffic was worse than ever last week as Con-Edison worked in the middle of the intersection to repair a gas leak. Ms. O’Keeffe and Mr. Odierna traded letters to-the-editor on the subject, and Mr. Odierna appeared at the intersection to gather resident opinions and voice his view that the situation was an “unmitigated disaster.”
Ms. O'Keeffe's fears proved groundless, however, as she outvoted Mr. Odierna in all but one of the 28 election districts in Mamaroneck Village, Larchmont Village and the unincorporated part of Town of Mamaroneck. (See: Vote & Turnout by District.)
Ms. O’Keeffe thanked her supporters gathered at the VFW Post 1156 on the Boston Post Road and said she would “reach out to her opponent.” By Thursday morning, Ms. O’Keeffe said her relationship with Mr. Odierna was back to normal. “We’re fine – we’ve already congratulated each other on a hard fought campaign and are back working together very cordially,” she said.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Odierna said “I didn’t start this thinking ‘I’m going to win –this is a piece of cake.’” But he did think “it was important to make a statement.” He praised Ms. O’Keeffe as “hard-working” and predicted they would continue to work collaboratively on the council. He also said he would continue to seek some administrative changes. “I’m thinking of the Chatsworth-Myrtle intersection,” he said. “I’d love to have some form of deputy administrator - so all the burden doesn’t fall on Steve [Altieri]’ and so the Town Council would have more involvement in supervising the administration.”
Mamaroneck Village: Savolt 51%, Trifiletti 49% -- Robinowitz 55, Fava 45%
The unofficial tally showed Ms. Robinowitz comfortably ahead of Mr. Fava, but Mr. Trifiletti was only 49 votes behind Ms. Savolt; the final count may be unavailable until next week, or even longer, given the number of machines the Westchester County Board of elections must inspect.
Numbers brought in by party "runners" on election night at Democratic headquarters (The Three Jalapeños restaurant) showed Ms. Savolt ahead by 112 votes, enough for the Democrats to declare victory. Trustee Tom Murphy introduced the "next mayor of Mamaroneck" and noted that the board has gone from 1-4, when he was the sole Democrat, to 3-2 last year and now 5-0. He called the all-Democratic board a "dream come true."
"This is the time, this is the team," said Randi Robinowitz as supporters cheered. Ms. Savolt referred to the election results as "the end of the beginning" and said she hoped people would be able to look back and say "fear and hatred have left the Village of Mamaroneck." She added, "We'll be working together starting tomorrow morning."
Mr. Trifiletti was waiting for the official count but wished Ms. Savolt "best of luck" if her lead holds up.
Westchester County District 7: Myers 68%, March 32%
In her re-election bid for the Westchester County's District 7 Legislative seat, Judy Myers, a Democrat and Mamaroneck Town resident, faced the same opponent this year as in 2005, Donald March, a Republican and the Mamaroneck Town historian. As was the case in 2005, the campaign was very quiet and her margin of victory was large. This time she received an even greater percentage of the vote - 68% as compared to 63% in 2005.
Where Were All the Voters?
With no big federal or state races to help pull out the voters, the turnout was relatively modest. For the supervisor race, voter participation ranged from a low of 10% (in one small part of the unincorporated Town of Mamaroneck) to a high of 42% in the Orienta/Claflin section of Mamaroneck Village. Overall, only 30% of Mamaroneck Town registered voters cast a vote for supervisor. .
Larchmont Village (LV), & Unincorporated Town of Mamaroneck (Uninc)
* Data reported by Westchester County and Mamaroneck Town are not completely identical; both sets of data are unofficial and are missing absentee and affadavit votes.