By ASHLEY HELMS
One Democrat remains.
Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker edged out former Mamaroneck Village Trustee Tom Murphy in a highly contested Democratic primary for the District 7 county legislator seat on Tuesday.
The two candidates were embroiled in a tight campaign to hold the Democratic line in order to replace County Legislator Judy Myers, who chose not to run for another term after nine years in office.
Parker will now go head-to-head with Republican nominee John Verni in the general election.
According to unofficial numbers provided by the Westchester County Board of Elections, Parker garnered 972 votes to Murphy’s 851 votes with 80 percent of the voting districts reporting, as of press time. In total, 1,823 reported votes were cast, as of press time.
Voting machines countywide were impounded Tuesday night and final tallies are not expected for several days.
Speaking to supporters at Bar’lees in Mamaroneck, Parker said she’s excited to bring the messages of the county tax burden, the environment and flood mitigation to the constituents of District 7. The councilwoman said that she believes these are issues that cross party lines.
“It didn’t matter if I was a registered Democrat or a Democrat in my heart; [residents] came out and voted for me,” she said.
Parker, though still technically a registered Independent until January 2014, received the endorsement of several prominent Westchester Democrats including Myers, but Murphy was able to collect enough petitions to trigger a primary for the line.
Many Democrats thought Parker, who also owns a small business on Purchase Street in Rye, would be a shoe-in for the seat after she was publicly endorsed by Myers at a June press conference. But Myers’ endorsement of Parker, in essence handing over the seat to her friend, became a point of contention for the Murphy
Myers, who was present at Bar’lees, said that she’s been working closely with Parker for the past year and she has “lived and breathed” the issues of Playland and flood mitigation.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that Catherine Parker has the Democratic nomination,” Myers said. “She can hit the ground running as county legislator.”
With just under two months until the general election, Parker said she will continue to work hard for her campaign in order to energize voters to come out and support her.
“It means more shoe leather, more shaking hands,” Parker said. “I believe this is the right message for this district at this time.”
At the nearby Larchmont Tavern, Murphy, in front of a crowd of roughly 50 friends, relatives and supporters, said he is proud of the good campaign he and his supporters ran. He urged Democrats to unite and support Parker in November in order to preserve the Democratic seat on the Board of Legislators.
“It was a tough climb; I didn’t have as many advantages, but we ran a good race,” Murphy said.
Debbie Chapin, Murphy’s campaign manager, said she is thankful for helping her friend during his campaign.
“This is still a place of very good people who love their community,” Chapin said.
Murphy said he campaigned about what it is to be a Democrat and what the party as a whole should stand for.
“I won’t stop here; we hold the dreams and aspirations of the middle class in our hands,” he said.
Westchester County’s seventh legislative district includes Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye City and parts of Harrison and New Rochelle. County legislators are elected to serve two-year terms.
The general election will be held on November 5.