For quite some time, Westchester County has been a Democratic Party stronghold, a suburban enclave of wealth and power that has been courted by major political operatives on the state and national level. Even the Clintons moved here.
But now that Andy Spano has been booted out of the county executive’s office after 12 years and replaced by a Republican, Rob Astorino, whose arguably scant experience in public office was effectively offset by anti-property tax message that was clear and articulate, the Democrats started to take serious notice. They’re starting to sweat about the anti-incumbent sentiment out there.
It’s interesting that Sen. Chuck Schumer, of all people, showed up to Astorino’s Inauguration. Word has it that he tried to speak at the event, but that would be beyond the realm of ordinary chutzpah even for a camera hog like Schumer…so I don’t believe it.
Schumer also showed up to the swearing-in ceremony of the new chairman of the Board of Legislators, Ken Jenkins.
See, Chuckie is keeping close tabs.
Today, he announced in a press release that he’s supporting County Legislator Peter Harckham’s run for the 89th Assembly District seat that was vacated by Adam Bradley after he won the White Plains mayoralty.
Maybe, I’ve been missing it. But I don’t recall Schumer playing up to local Republicans before. Nor do I remember him taking notice of new board chairman. And since when has taken official interest in state legislative races?
I think the win by Tea Party-Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate runoff has Chuckie very worried about the chances that his pliable, co-Senator in New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, can hold the seat.
So maybe Chuck realizes that it’s a whole new ballgame in Westchester, and perhaps nothing can be taken for granted.