By PHIL NOBILE
History repeated itself in Harrison on Nov. 5 as incumbent Mayor Ron Belmont, a Republican, easily defeated Democratic challenger Joan Walsh. The victory was the second consecutive win for Belmont over Walsh, a former mayor.
Holding 75 percent of the popular vote as of press time, Belmont cruised to victory Tuesday night alongside Republican candidates for Town Council.
“The voters of Harrison are very intelligent and realized all the good things we’ve done in the past few years,” Belmont, 61, said from his campaign’s celebration at the John Cabotto Club in Harrison. “I’m delighted they’ve spoken and like the way things are going for the town.”
With 16 out of 20 districts reporting, Belmont received 3,153 votes, while Walsh earned 1,062 votes. In comparison, the 2011 race between Belmont and Walsh had a smaller, albeit decisive margin in Belmont’s favor, with Belmont receiving 3,793 votes to Walsh’s 2,267 votes.
The four remaining districts had errors in its ballot machines, so all votes were not released as of press time.
Walsh and her runningmates, who were located at Aquario in West Harrison as the votes came in, expressed disappointment as the numbers turned heavily in Belmont’s favor.
“I’m sad because I think what is being done right now is not for the best of the town. The classic answer is that the people have spoken, so be it,” Walsh, 79, said. “I probably won’t be involved anymore.”
Walsh served as mayor from 2008 to 2011. Though she initially decided to sit out the 2013 elections, Walsh “felt compelled” and decided to enter the fray once more. After this year’s loss, Walsh expressed doubts about Belmont’s team.
“They’ll do the same thing they’re doing now,” Walsh said. “The taxes will keep going up, money will keep being spent, and people will keep moving out of town.”
Belmont’s primary message during the 2013 campaign season was “not spending, but investing” in the town. According to Belmont, the town’s former recreation superintendent, the long-debated MTA project is “ready to go,” and downtown revitalization will be the focus going forward.
Running his first re-election campaign, Belmont said that his administration didn’t waste a moment, “working hard from day one.”
“We took nothing for granted,” Belmont said. “I was on the train platform at 8 p.m. [Tuesday night] tonight handing out flyers and getting people to vote at the eleventh-hour.”
On Tuesday night, Belmont, to a jubilant audience of constituents and friends, conveyed excitement to keep Harrison “moving in the right direction.”
“I’m going to continue working just as hard for the town, and continue to take Harrison in the right direction,” he said.
When asked about the campaign this year in comparison to last year, Walsh said it was “a little more civilized,” and reflected on the number of signs put up in the area.
“One thing I will say is perhaps the number of signs reflect the votes,” Walsh said. “We had very few, they had very many. Maybe it was the battle of the signs this time around.”
Ultimately, Walsh said she was grateful for her team and those who worked with her, but she was “sad with the outcome.”