People all over Westchester were surprised with the outcome of the recent election for County Executive. Rob Astorino, who had been Westchester County Executive since 2009, was up against George Latimer, who served on the New York State Senate. As the election came by, everybody expected Astorino to win by a landslide based on his popularity. By freezing the tax levy every year since 2009, reducing overall spending, attracting new businesses, creating over 40,000 jobs, expanding environmental and recycling initiatives, and improving ParaTransit for the disabled, Rob Astorino became very popular all over the county. All his efforts rewarded him with bipartisan support in the 2013 election in a mainly democratic state. So, when people found out the George Latimer had won, the people of Westchester were shocked.
To get a personal opinion on the election, I sat down with Ms. Comblo, who teaches AP U.S. Government, and asked her a few questions. Rob Astorino studied Communications at Fordham University and had a huge career in the TV and radio industry, so how could he become so popular as a politician? She thought that having such good experience in that industry is what helped him become so popular. The way to becoming a good politician is having good
communication skills. Taking for example former president Ronald Reagan, coming from a big acting career in the 1950s and becoming a popular presidential candidate in the 1980s. Besides known for tearing down the Berlin Wall, he was also famous for being one of our funniest presidents. Ms. Comblo’s opinion was that having a career in the movie industry helped Reagan with the way he gave speeches and was able to fit a few jokes into every topic.
Anyways, if Rob Astorino was so popular since 2009, how come now he lost by a landslide? Ms. Comblo thought it had something to do with our president and current events. She went on to say that national elections always have an effect on local politics. It’s not the fact that both Donald Trump and Rob Astorino are Republicans, but rather that the people of Westchester wanted a change after two terms with the same person. Not that Rob Astorino was bad at his job, but after what’s happening around the nation and the world, people want to try someone else as County Executive.
After the results of the election came out, countless articles came out saying that Latimer won in a major upset. If most people voted for Latimer, then how could it be an upset? Ms. Comblo said it was because it was just based on the polls. A lot of the time, polls are wrong because people don’t go out and vote in the polls. There are very few people who participate in the polls because they don’t want to be bothered with the phone calls. However, this causes false data. It makes people believe Rob Astorino would win when the majority of the voters are voting for Latimer. So, it’s only considered an upset since that’s only based on the people who answered the questions over the phone for the polls.
My last question was if he was a Democrat would he be re-elected again? Ms. Comblo said that it’s a big “if.” It’s very hypothetical because Astorino is a textbook Republican. His beliefs in preserving essential services and protecting the taxpayers are the basic beliefs of Republicans. It’s hard to imagine if he was a Democrat because he’s such a basic Republican. Maybe, because Donald Trump is part of the Republican party, but it’s too hypothetical.
Overall, this election shows that even when there are high chances of a person winning, there can always be an underdog story. No one thought Latimer would win, even in a Democratic region. Voters were impressed with Rob Astorino’s accomplishments while in of ce, which is why he won by a 13-point margin in 2013, but that wasn’t enough for him in this election. Now, the people of Westchester wait to see how George Latimer will affect our county.