Verni confident of Independence nod


Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker, a Democrat, and John Verni, a Republican, are vying for the county legislator seat in District 7 as well as for the Independence Party line on the November ballot. According to the county Board of Legislators, tallying of the votes will continue until Sept. 25. File Photos

As the Westchester Board of Elections continues to count the remaining ballots, the question of whether Republican nominee John Verni or Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker, a Democrat, will carry the Independence line on Election Day remains unknown.

Verni, a Mamaroneck resident and real estate developer, said he is confident he will win the Independence line and that he already has more votes than Parker.

According to unofficial data provided by the Board of Elections, Parker has received 30 votes with 100 percent of the 55 voting districts reporting.

Parker received the Indepen­dence Party’s endorsement back in July, but Verni was able to collect enough petition signatures from registered party members to trigger a primary for the line.

Verni said he believes he has 70 write-in votes with the rest to be tallied in the next week.

“Those write-ins were for my folks. We are getting twice as many votes on that line,” Verni said. “I’m excited unless there is some surprise.”election_circle1

According to an official with the Board of Elections, write-in votes are expected to be calculated and certified by Sept. 25. Representatives from the Democratic and Republican parties were expected to meet with a county judge on Wednesday, Sept. 18, after press time, to determine how the votes will be tallied.

Parker and Verni are vying for the county legislator seat in District 7, which includes Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye City as well as parts of Harrison and New Rochelle. Judy Myers, a Mamaroneck Democrat, currently holds the seat, but decided against seeking another term in office earlier this year.

The legislative district has been in Democratic hands since 1992. Given that, the outcome of the Independence primary is crucial to Verni’s chances for victory in November as it has often been difficult for Republican candidates to win county office without carrying the Independence line, the county’s third-largest political party.

The Independence Party, however, has been riddled with controversy both external and internal this year after Republican County Executive Robert Astorino’s campaign said Independence chairman Guilio “Doc” Cavallo endorsed New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, the Democratic challenger for the county executive seat, and other Democrats seeking county office, out of spite when Astorino, after taking office in 2010, refused to grant county jobs to people in the Independence Party who were close to Cavallo. Cavallo endorsed Astorino in 2009 and was said to have helped the Republican win his seat as county executive.

Parker could not be reached for comment as of press time.

-Reporting by ASHLEY HELMS