By Chris Eberhart
Incumbent Anthony Colavita, a Republican, will return to office for a sixth term as Eastchester’s town supervisor after beating out retired Eastchester police officer Mike Denning, a Democrat, by an unofficial 4,392 to 2,903 vote tally with all but District 6, which suffered voting machine malfunction, and absentee ballots accounted for.
Colavita, 51, has become a fixture in the Town of Eastchester during his 10-year tenure as town supervisor, and his landslide victory came as little surprise to campaign observers. It was the first time since taking office that the supervisor had faced a challenger.
Colavita proved to easily thwart his competition.
The Republicans have a chokehold on Eastchester with the number of registered Republicans in the town outnumbering registered Democrats by nearly 1,500 to go along with an all-Republican Town Council, which will remain intact after councilmen Fred Salanitro and Luigi Marcoccia won unopposed victories in the Nov. 5 elections.
Denning knew he faced an uphill battle in the campaign and said, before the results started pouring in, his chances of winning rested with Garth Road, which represents the largest voting bloc in the town and typically votes Democrat.Colavita said he knew re-election was close when Garth Road’s results were coming in and he was either winning districts in the area or only losing by a few votes.
Colavita’s campaign was stationed in TuttaBella Trattoria on White Plains Road in Scarsdale, which was the sight of Colavita’s first win as Eastchester town supervisor in 2004. A crowd of about 20 people was on hand to support the supervisor.
Idle chatter filled the bottom floor of the restaurant while Colavita and Republican county Legislator Sheila Marcotte counted votes upstairs. The supervisor came downstairs at 10:30 p.m. to deliver his victory speech in which he thanked his family and the voters.
Colavita’s campaign was predicated on his track record of cutting spending and lowering taxes while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle for the people of Eastchester. He said he will continue to do the same while he’s in office to make sure the town stays under the state’s property tax cap, which was lowered from 2 percent to 1.66 percent earlier this year.
“Our plans moving forward will be to continue to cut costs, continue to reduce spending, preserve the quality of life in this town and maintain our high level of services as best we can in this economy,” Colavita said.
In order to stay under the tax cap, Colavita told The Eastchester Review, he cut the Town Hall staff by 25 percent; hasn’t taken a raise in more than 10 years; hasn’t given raises to the department heads in the last four years or CSEA in the last three years; privatized government functions such as golf and ball field maintenance; and consolidated positions.
Denning, 43, a retired New York City and Eastchester police officer, set up his campaign headquarters in Mickey Spillane’s on White Plains Road in Eastchester and informed the modest crowd of family and supporters as the districts’ votes trickled in.
Early on, Denning faced losing district after losing district and the David-versus-Goliath chatter among his supporters in the pub faded. Denning tried to hold on to his positive spirit during his short speeches between results, but, by 10 p.m., it was evident Colavita had won the day.
Denning said his loss was a loss for the town employees, who he said are “miserable” under Colavita.
“If I was running the government, it would’ve been friendlier to the town employees by creating a happier work environment,” Denning said. “Most of them are miserable. Cops are leaving and transferring to other jobs, which, historically, never really happened. General employees aren’t happy, and I think I would’ve created a happier work environment.”