By ASHLEY HELMS
The results of Tuesday’s Westchester county race for District 7 between Democratic Rye City Councilwoman Catherine Parker, and Republican John Verni remain in flux as of Wednesday, though Parker maintains a slim lead.
According to unofficial tallies, Parker is ahead of Verni by 396 votes with three districts in Rye Neck, the Town of Mamaroneck and the city of New Rochelle still waiting to be counted.
While awaiting the results on Tuesday night at his restaurant, Club Car, located at 1 Station Plaza in Mamaroneck, Verni said he became concerned over his odds of winning the election after a large voter turnout in Rye was reported.
“Rye tends to be more Republican, but it’s Catherine [Parker’s] home town,” he said.
In fact, after originally being told he won Rye Tuesday night, Verni said he was notified Wednesday morning that he lost Rye to Parker by roughly 200 votes.
A machine malfunction at the Halstead Manor Firehouse voting district in the Village of Mamaroneck also caused a delay, Verni said.
“There are some machines that still need to be counted,” Verni said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions.”
But with a high level of success for other Republican candidates across the county, including a victory at the top of the GOP ticket—the re-election of County Executive Robert Astorino—Verni said that he may still have a shot at winning.
“Astorino’s win was a good omen for the race,” Verni said.
Republican candidates also snagged elections all along the Sound Shore on Tuesday, including the re-election of Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont over his Democratic challenger, former Mayor Joan Walsh, as well as a sweep by a four-member bipartisan slate in Rye City.
A factor in deciding the outcome of the District 7 race could be the role that former Village of Mamaroneck Trustee Tom Murphy could unintentionally play.
Although Parker defeated Murphy in a Democratic primary for the nomination, Murphy’s name appeared on Tuesday’s general election ballot as a Working Families candidate. Any votes that Murphy receives via that line would have traditionally gone to the Democratic candidate in the race, potentially leaving Parker with less votes than she would have had otherwise.
The campaign between Parker and Verni was one that differed from many of the other races in the area. The two candidates were viewed as cordial and fair with each other and even publically agreed on some issues, such as their support for the Sustainable Playland Inc. proposal to redevelop the park.
The Rye City councilwoman has eyed the county seat ever since announcing her intentions back in May. At that time, county Legislator Judy Myers, a Mamaroneck Democrat, announced she would not seek another term in office and anointed Parker as her successor.
Westchester’s seventh legislative district includes the town and village of Mamaroneck, Larchmont, Rye City and portions of New Rochelle and Harrison.
The seat has remained in Democratic hands dating back to 1992, when state Sen. George Latimer, a Rye Democrat, served as a county legislator.
A phone call to Parker was not returned as of press time.