By ASHLEY HELMS
Political newcomer and New Rochelle resident Mary Jo Jacobs, a Democrat, has received the endorsement from the county Independence Party over incumbent county Legislator Sheila Marcotte, a Republican, as the November 2013 election approaches.
Jacobs is vying for the legislator seat currently held by Marcotte, which represents portions of New Rochelle, Eastchester and Tuckahoe.
Democrats across the county have been endorsed by the Westchester Independence party, lending credence to the belief of some that party chairman Guilo“Doc” Cavallo chose to endorse Democratic candidates because of ongoing bad blood between Cavallo and County Executive Robert Astorino, a Republican.
A primary will be held on Sept. 10 in which Independence Party voters will be able to write in Marcotte’s name as she was able to cultivate enough signatures from registered Independence voters to get a spot on the ballot in a process called “opportunity to ballot.”
Marcotte, who has received the Independence nomination in her previous elections, said Jacobs receiving the endorsement is absolutely a reaction to Cavallo’s strained relationship with Astorino. Marcotte said Cavallo gave Democrats the endorsement across the board except for two who are running unopposed.
“[The Independents] expected a lot of jobs to come their way and it didn’t happen,” Marcotte said.
Marcotte refers to the race for county executive, in which accusations have emerged recently from Astorino’s campaign that Cavallo, who endorsed New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, the Democratic candidate, did so out of spite when Astorino failed to grant county jobs to people in the Independence Party who were close to Cavallo.
Astorino has collected enough petitions to primary for the line, which is considered crucial to the county executive’s re-election bid.
Marcotte said she was surprised by Cavallo’s decision to back Jacobs because he told her during her interview with the party that she would receive the endorsement and had nothing to worry about. The county legislator said that she would have preferred Cavallo tell her the truth about Astorino and the party chair being at odds, leading him to endorse her opponent.
“I’d have far more respect for him; I do know that all of the Republicans are doing the primary,” Marcotte said. “This is going to be a county-wide primary except for who is unopposed.”
If she doesn’t win the primary, Marcotte said the loss of the Independence Party line will adversely affect her campaign. Currently, she is reaching out to residents to try to get them to head down to the polls during the primary to write her name and Astorino’s on the ballot.
The county legislator said she isn’t discouraged by the extra work of contacting voters.
“All part of the process; it doesn’t put me off that much,” Marcotte said.
Jacobs said she thinks that she received the Independence endorsement based on her stance on various issues that she discussed with the party chair during her interview. Jacobs said she has experience working with multi-million dollar budgets and wants all political parties to be heard. During the interview, Cavallo never mentioned Astorino or his relationship with him, she said.
“I believe you get things done when you work together. I don’t think that’s always happened with the current administration,” Jacobs said. “I was endorsed for who I am and what I stand for, and I’ve got a great deal of support in the community.”
Jacobs said she was happy to receive the endorsement; as she would be from any political party because she has never run for elected office before.
“Every single vote is very important and counts,” Jacobs said.
County legislators are elected to serve two-year terms.