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Mount Kisco Deputy Mayor Lisa Abzun fought back a challenge from lawyer and former prosecutor Thomas Luzio Tuesday night in the village’s Democratic mayoral primary.
Abzun, who was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in December 2021 and was elected in an uncontested election last November, outlasted Luzio 396-333, according to unofficial results from the Westchester County Board of Elections.
She will now take on former longtime mayor Michael Cindrich who will run on an independent line with two running mates in November.
“I think one of the main factors that I definitely had was real ideas for real solutions and I think the other part of it was a negative campaign is not a successful campaign,” Abzun said after she had thanked her supporters at Monarca Restaurant & Bar in the village’s downtown.
Abzun won despite failing to get the endorsement of the majority of the Mount Kisco Democratic Committee during the winter, which opted to endorse Luzio, a first-time candidate.
However, she did have the backing of most of the remainder of the area’s political apparatus, including current Mayor Gina Picinich, who had appointed her to the board, village Trustee Karine Patino and former trustee Jean Farber, both of whom will be on the Democratic ticket with Abzun in the general election, County Legislator Erika Pierce and state Sen. Peter Harckham. All of those officials were at Tuesday evening’s gathering to show their support.
Throughout the campaign Abzun reminded the public of her years of community service in the village and her deep family roots in Mount Kisco, compared to Luzio who moved to the village about eight years ago.
Luzio had stated during the campaign that his impetus for running for the nomination started after he strongly opposed the Village Board’s exploration of putting a cell tower in an area of Leonard Park. He and his supporters also called for a much stronger village ethics code and for more effective communication between the village government and the public.
On Wednesday, Luzio said he was encouraged by winning five of the village’s seven districts, but the two he lost were by significant margins.
“I’m disappointed,” Luzio said. “It was well worth the effort, but I’m disappointed.”
He said the difference in the election may have been Abzun’s allegations that he or his campaign falsified signatures on his nominating petition, charges that were never proven by the Board of Elections. Luzio said it was used as “a political tool.” Abzun had said she considered legal action but opted not to go that route.
However, he said his strong showing means that the issues he raised resonated with many residents.
“The fact that we did so well in five of the districts suggests to me that in November, our message of urging a stronger code of ethics and full financial disclosure, protecting our shrinking greenspace, keeping our village safe from crime, to do a better job on that, and opposing overdevelopment could be positive,” said Luzio, who did not rule out the possibility of another run in the future.
Despite expressing exhilaration at winning the primary, Abzun and her campaign manager Tony Marino cautioned supporters that they must win again in a little more than four months.
“I’m just asking us to stay our course, to stay our course of civility, to stay our course of being grounded in our comments and in our values of what we really want to see positive for our village, and I’m not just talking about Democrats, I’m talking about our entire village,” Abzun said.
Marino said Abzun’s deep roots in the village and the trust she has earned throughout her lifetime was a key factor in her winning the primary. While Abzun will have to contend with an opponent in Cindrich who is a well-known figure in the community after having served 14 years as mayor, Marino said she has amassed a wealth of respect.
“The track record of our opponent, of being a Republican at one point, and a Democrat and an independent, I just think it creates a lot of confusion,” Marino said. “People just don’t know where you stand. Lisa’s platform doesn’t (waver), it’s a consistent grassroots foundation of love and respect from the community that she came from, so there’s a real, sincere authenticity in her wanting to lead.”
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/