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Michaelis Ready for Primary After Minority Leader’s Backing

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Peter Michaelis accepting last week’s endorsement from Minority Leader Jim Maisano

Republican County Legislator candidate Peter Michaelis received a significant boost last week when he received the endorsement of Board of Legislators Minority Leader Jim Maisano in his bid to snag the party’s nomination.

Maisano, who traveled from New Rochelle to Katonah to personally announce his support, called Michaelis “a terrific candidate” who has the best chance to win in November.

“That is a fact,” Maisano declared. “Not only do I think that but the Westchester County Republican Committee endorsed Peter at a convention after interviewing all possible candidates and the entire Republican Party felt that Peter is the best candidate to win on Election Day, Nov. 8.”

Michaelis must defeat Tea Party Republican Lisa Douglas in Tuesday’s GOP primary to face Democratic Majority Leader Peter Harckham in District 2. He was joined by a group of area Republicans including Bedford Supervisor Lee Roberts, Lewisboro Supervisor Charles Duffy and veteran legislator Ursula LaMotte, who held the seat until she retired in 2007.

While neither Douglas nor the Tea Party were mentioned by name, Maisano trumpeted Michaelis’ fiscal conservatism, such as his goal to reduce the size of county government and protecting taxpayers, qualities that both moderate Republicans and many independents embrace.

“Really, those are all the issues that the people in District 2 care about,” he said. “Peter is right on all those issues.”

Maisano also said party leadership was impressed by Michaelis, a longtime member of the Bedford Zoning Board of Appeals, when he stepped up to take on Harckham in 2007. At the time the GOP had no other candidate. Despite a late start, Michaelis lost that election by less than 500 votes out of more than 11,000 votes cast.

Michaelis said the most important task is to break through the Democrats’ 12-vote supermajority in White Plains. By picking up one seat, County Executive Rob Astorino would have greater leverage in trying to make the necessary reforms needed to help Westchester residents as they try to shake free of burdensome taxes.

“Four years later, the Democratic supermajority is standing in the way of Jim and County Executive Astorino on their reform efforts and that must change,” Michaelis said. “We have been the highest taxed county in America for the last four years. We no longer can afford that distinction. We don’t like it, we don’t want it and Jim and I are going to do everything needed to put it behind us and make Westchester a place where we can all afford to live.”

Despite the enthusiasm shown by the Republican establishment for Michaelis, Douglas said it is her candidacy that provides Republicans with a choice. She said Michaelis is too closely aligned with party brass and resembles a Democrat rather than a true Republican.

She said Michaelis’ supposed commitment to smaller government and lower taxes must be questioned in light of a $1,000 contribution he made to President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

“I am against Republicans acting like Democrats, who lean to the left and contribute to Obama,” Douglas said. “I don’t think people want that.”

Michaelis said if he’s successful on Tuesday, he’s confident he’ll be able to get the support needed to defeat Harckham in November.

“I will reach out to everyone,” he said. “I will ask for their support and once the primary is done and I’m successful I’m hoping I’ll have their support.”

District 2 includes most of the northeastern corner of the county, including Mount Kisco.

District 3 Independence Primary

While it is known that Democratic incumbent John Nonna and Republican challenger Michael Smith will be opponents in November, the Independence Party line is on the line in Tuesday’s primary. Nonna is bidding for a third term on the board.

North Castle Town Justice

In addition to a Republican primary for supervisor and council seats in North Castle, there is also a contest to see who will gain the party’s nomination for town justice. Incumbent Elyse Lazansky, who is being supported by the ticket of Howard Arden, Kerry Lutz an d Matt Rice, is being challenged by Doug Martino, a candidate backed by the duo of incumbent Supervisor William Weaver and council candidate Stephen D’Angelo. Martino lost a bid last year for county judge.

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