The New Castle Democratic-endorsed slate that is being challenged in a June primary has been collecting signatures to appear on an independent line, ensuring a contested election in November.
Supervisor candidate Holly McCall and candidates for Town Board, Councilwoman Lori Morton, who won a special election last November to complete an unexpired term, Michael Weinberg and Jennifer Bounds will be on the 4 New Castle line.
Their opponents, current Councilwoman and supervisor candidate Lisa Katz and her running mates Andrea Sanseverino Galan, Tara McAdam Kassel and Jennifer Louis-Jeune, announced their candidacies on the independent Unite New Castle in early February before forcing a primary in March.
The two sides must submit their petitions to the Board of Elections from May 18 to 25 in order to appear on their respective independent lines.
McCall said the decision to seek an independent line was to guarantee that all voters, including registered Republicans, those who are unaffiliated and registered members of minor parties, will have a choice in November. There are close to 7,000 registered Democrats who live in town and there are no Republican candidates for the town election this cycle.
“We know that they are going to seek an independent line as well, so while we’re really confident that we have the best ticket and will prevail in the primary, we still want to make sure and let everybody have the choice in November, and the decision is not made in June,” McCall said.
She said she expects that the message for the primary and the general election will be to address issues that are important for the entire town, including development opportunities for Millwood and social justice and equity issues relating to affordable housing.
“We know we are the best candidates to move New Castle forward,” said McCall. “The issues out there are bigger than just a rezoning issue and the Chappaqua hamlet, so our message is unchanged, whether it’s June or November.”
Morton added that she found it “a bit baffling” that New Castle United jumped into the race to pursue a non-partisan line, but is now seeking to run as Democrats.
“Again, it seems like what is fairest to the community is for the community to get to vote,” she said.
Weinberg said the decision to go on an independent line provides their slate another chance to talk to the town’s voters. However, Democratic voters will have the chance to decide in June who they want to represent their party, which in his opinion should not be someone who ran twice for town council on the Republican side, Weinberg said, alluding to Katz.
“The question is who is deserving of the Democratic line, and what have you done to earn the Democratic line and what will you do when you have the Democratic line,” Weinberg said. “I would agree that that would include the ability to step up and support other Democrats.”
Asked about her reaction to the opposing slate also seeking an independent line, Katz said she believes in the democratic process and the right to ballot access. Katz said she found it inconsistent, however, that a party that challenged their 2019 opponents right to an independent line would be seeking their own.
Katz brushed aside comments about her Democratic loyalties and having run twice as a councilwoman endorsed by the town Republicans, saying she has been a registered Democrat since she was 18 years old. Sending out postcards doesn’t bolster party credentials, she said.
Katz also maintained that town elections should be about ideas and not about party labels.
“To attack someone who has served on the Town Board for eight years as not having done their Democratic duty to this town, I find that a little reprehensible because I didn’t mail a postcard,” Katz said. “I ran this town for eight years; no one on their slate has done that. They don’t know how to defeat somebody who has a lot of support from almost 7,000 Democratic voters in this town.”
Editor’s Note: Lisa Katz has contended that the above quote attributed to her, which appeared in The Examiner’s print edition, contained omissions. The Examiner stands by the originally printed quote as accurate. The below quote is the version of the quote that Katz said is accurate.
“To attack someone who has served on the Town Board for eight years as not having done her Democratic duty to this town – I find it a little reprehensible that all that work is discounted by the New Castle Democratic Committee simply because I didn’t mail a postcard,” Katz said. “As a member of the Town Board, I ran this town for eight years; no one on their slate has done that. They resort to negative tactics and false statements because they don’t know how to otherwise defeat a fellow Democrat who has a lot of support from the almost 7,000 Democratic voters in this town.”