By ASHLEY HELMS
Village of Mamaroneck incumbent Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Clark Neuringer to retain his seat in Tuesday night’s election. But the outcome of the trustee race between incumbent Republican Louis Santoro and Democratic challenger Kerry Stein was much closer, with Santoro eking out a win, according to unofficial numbers.
According to preliminary results, Santoro garnered 1,813 votes to Stein’s 1,737.
But according to unofficial Westchester County Board of Elections numbers, Stein has a slight lead over Santoro with 1,323 votes compared to Santoro’s 1,319 votes with 86 percent of the 15 districts reporting.
Rosenblum garnered 1,432 votes compared to Neuringer’s 1,137 votes with 86 percent of the 15 districting reporting, according to the Board of Elections.
The election was marked by heated controversy between the candidates regarding campaign sign regulations, a possible proposal for rezoning at Hampshire Country Club and Neuringer’s run-in with the village’s Ethics Board last year.
During a broadcast on LMC-TV, Rosenblum said his win is especially sweet because it shows that residents are voting for the people and topics rather than based on party lines.
“There is no room for low-life politics and we proved that this year,” he said.
Reached by phone on Wednesday, the mayor said that his victory proves that, for the third year in a row, the public felt the incumbents were doing what’s right for the village.
The negativity coming from the Democratic campaign cost them the election.
“It’s a reaffirmation of our philosophy; there’s no place for personal agendas in the Village of Mamaroneck,” Rosenblum said.
Although Santoro’s win is not official just yet, he said that he feels confident that tallies from the districts yet to be counted will push him to victory. An additional 110 votes in total are expected, he said.
“The districts where we’re missing votes we have won in the past by a 3-to-1 majority and they’re predominantly Republican,” Santoro said.
While greeting supporters, Neuringer said he knew going up against incumbents would make for a close race, but his campaign stayed true to its main objective: to start dialogue about the direction of the village.
“Carry it further and keep going. That’s the campaign we ran,” Neuringer said. “It doesn’t stop tonight.”
By running a campaign based on issues rather than personalities, Neuringer said that discussion was created even though the outcome of the election wasn’t what he hoped for.
“I was told that Village of Mamaroneck politics are almost like a blood sport,” Neuringer said. “[Stein and I] made a decision to try to change that.”
Stein, a bond trader, said that running for elected office was one of the most fascinating experiences he has had in a long time, but the village missed out on someone who would make a great mayor by not electing Neuringer.
Throughout the summer leading up to Tuesday’s election, both the incumbents and challengers were faced with various roadblocks and controversies that were considered to be politically driven.
Plans were displayed at Hampshire’s open house in January for a potential condominium building and parking garage on the club’s property where a clubhouse stands now. Neuringer and Stein took an outspoken stance against building condominiums on the club’s grounds, while Santoro and Rosenblum were silent on possible rezoning stemming from instructions by the village’s legal council. The challengers cited concerns with overdevelopment of the village’s green space and felt that, as elected officials, the incumbents should have been obligated to comment for residents who felt strongly about the issue.
Neuringer was ruled in violation of two of the village’s regulations by the Board of Ethics last year after he represented a paid client through his work as an architect in front of the Planning Board.
And the sizes of the candidates’ signs also came under scrutiny during the campaign. Both slates were issued notices of violation by Building Inspector Bill Gerety for signs exceeding the 16 square foot benchmark, but Rosenblum and Santoro left their signs in place due to an interpretation of village code that allows them to leave the signs up for 90 days after an issued violation.
Though there will be three seats on the village Board of Trustees, currently held by Democratic trustees Ilissa Miller, Andreas Bermudez Hallstrom and Leon Potok, up for re-election next year, Neuringer and Stein said throwing their hats into the political ring won’t happen again anytime soon, though Stein said he would run for elected office again if there were issues he felt deserved his taking a stand.
Despite the overall personal nature of the political campaign, Stein said he gives Rosenblum and Santoro the “benefit of the doubt” because they were doing what they felt like they needed to in order to stay in their elected positions.
“In the heat of battle, people speak before they think because they’re trying to accomplish something,” he said.