By DANIEL OFFNER
The unofficial tallies are in and while the three Democrats running to represent Harrison on the Westchester Board of Legislators feel confident in the race for the county Independence Party line, their GOP opponents still await the final tally of write-in ballots.
Although the tally of write-in ballots was not available as of press time, officials with the Westchester County Board of Elections said they do not intend to re-canvass write-in candidates until Sept. 24.
Divided into three county legislative districts—after the re-mapping of district lines in 2011—Independence Party members in Harrison went to the polls on Sept. 10 to cast their vote in one of three primary elections.
Although the countywide Independence Party initially endorsed Democrats Ben Boykin, a White Plains councilman, Harrison’s Mark Jaffe, and Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker on their candidacy last June, the three GOP party candidates—former Scarsdale Mayor Dr. Miriam Levitt-Flisser, county Legislator David Gelfarb and New Rochelle’s John Verni—each collected enough petitions for an opportunity-to-ballot
Running for the fifth legislative district seat formerly occupied by Democratic County Legislator Bill Ryan, Boykin appears to have come out ahead over his GOP competitor Levitt-Flisser.
Shortly after the unofficial poll results poured in, Boykin declared victory of the Independence Party line. With 1,413 Independence Party members in District Five–169 of which are Harrison residents–only 29 votes were cast among the 53 reporting voter districts. As a write-in candidate, Flisser’s votes had not yet been tallied.
“I want to thank all the Independence Party voters who came out today,” Boykin said on Tuesday night. “I am pleased to be the candidate selected for the Independence, Working Families and Democratic Party lines…and I intend to win on all of those lines this November to become the next county legislator of District Five.”
In the race for the sixth legislative district, which currently contains the lion’s share of Harrison as well as Rye Brook and Port Chester, Jaffe received the support of 60 Independence Party members who participated in the primary. With 76 percent of districts voting, Jaffe declared a win over incumbent Legislator Gelfarb, who ran as a write-in candidate for the third party line.
“It looks like the Independence party wants Jaffe for County Legislator,” Jaffe said, after polling numbers began to stream in.
But with a total of 1,705 registered Independence Party members in district six—660 of which are Harrison residents—Gelfarb said he plans to wait to see the results of his write-in ballots before conceding the race.
“We have to wait and see what happens when all the votes are counted,” Gelfarb said. “In the meantime I am 110 percent focused on the upcoming general elections.”
He added that while the state Supreme Court invalidated opportunity-to-ballot petitions filed on behalf of Republican County Executive Rob Astorino last month, the possible primary might have assisted in attracting a larger turnout at the polls.
Squaring off for the seventh county district seat, occupied by retiring Democratic County Legislator Judy Myers, Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker secured the Democratic party line—beating out former Village of Mamaroneck Trustee Tom Murphy.
Parker also received a total of 26 votes for the Independence Party ticket, based on the unofficial primary results and 80 percent of districts reporting.
However for Parker’s GOP competitor John Verni, a New Rochelle real estate broker also seeking the Independence line as a write-in candidate, the race for the third party line is far from over.
Out of the 1,685 Independence Party members in the district—only 76 which are Harrison residents—Verni said he anticipates that he will take the Independence line from the previously endorsed Parker.
“I am encouraged by the numbers of those I know that came out to support me,” Verni said after the polls closed.
Since all write-in ballots have yet to be tallied as of press time, there are no clear cut victors, but with two months remaining before the Nov. 2013 general elections, candidates are now looking to hit the campaign trail for more support.