by Barrett Seaman –
With most of the incumbent trustees and mayors running unopposed, an off-year like this would normally leave lots of voters at home on election day. But the 2017 race for Westchester County Executive drew a record turnout—largely in support of Democrat challenger George Latimer of Rye, who beat incumbent Rob Astorino by 57% to 43%. The preliminary count showed a margin of more than 30,000 votes.
The heavy turnout in favor of Democrats (they won 12 of the county’s 17 legislative districts as well) is being widely interpreted as a backlash against Donald Trump’s policies. Latimer was relentless in linking Astorino to the unpopular president during the campaign. Combined with a similar outcome in Nassau County as well as in the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, the Westchester turnover articulates a focused, if limited, message of dissatisfaction with current Republican leadership.
In the rivertowns, Latimer outpolled Astorino in every voting district. The incumbent’s support came largely from up-county communities but not by nearly enough to overcome the more heavily populated and largely Democratic southern county election districts.
Two days after his loss, Astorino announced that he would not run for governor, which was widely expected if he had won.
Final counts from the Westchester Board of Elections will be available some time next week.