WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Rocco Magnotta, 66, of White Plains, watched the unofficial results of Legislator John Nonna (D-Pleasantville) and Republican challenger Michael Smith’s race on television until 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, hoping to catch a glimpse of whether the Democrats would lose the super-majority their 12 legislators now enjoy.
“I would like to see Astorino get his way, at least for a short while, just to see what he gets done,” Magnotta said of Republican County Executive Robert Astorino, who has frequently had his vetoes, particularly budget line vetoes, overridden by the Democratic-dominated legislature. “The Democrat were very slightly ahead, so I think it’s probably going to stay status quo.”
Westchester residents are scrutinizing the unofficial results released by the Board of Elections, which showed Nonna and Smith both earned 50 percent of the votes, for indications of how the county government will operate in the coming term.
If Smith earns a sixth county lawmaker seat for the Republicans, Astorino’s administration will likely see a less tempestuous budget season than last year’s, when the legislators’ overrode more than 240 of his budget line item vetoes.
William O’Reilly, Astorino’s political consultant, said the relative success of several novice Republican candidates’ against incumbents “sent a message that bodes well for Westchester’s future,” including the prospect of beating the supermajority by two seats.
“At the end of the day -- and it may take weeks to sort this out -- we’re looking at a push at worst, and breaking the supermajority by two seats at best,” O’Reilly said in an email.
Legislator William Ryan (D-White Plains), whose unofficial election results indicate he won an eighth term, said he was fearful of what would happen if Nonna lost the race.
“We’ve seen some rather extreme positions come out of the administration with respect to a variety of services and programs that are an essential part of the county’s mission. They fail to understand the responsibilities and authorities of the legislature,” said Ryan. “That failure requires that there be a very strong system of checks and balances in the county government, which the loss of the supermajority threatens.”
What are your thoughts on the Democratic county lawmaker's veto-proof supermajority? Would you like to see it broken or regained? Do you think Nonna or Smith will win? Join the conversation below.