Republicans Greg Bernard and Tom Diana soundly defeated Democrats Rosanne Brackett and Bob Giordano in a special election Tuesday to fill two empty seats on the Yorktown Town Board.
The convincing wins shift the balance of power on the board back to the Republicans, although Diana, an elected official for the first time, insisted he wasn’t going to be a rubber stamp for Supervisor Michael Grace.
“We have to start making things bi-partisan so we can continue to move Yorktown forward,” he said. “We can’t have the stumbling blocks that we had in the past. I don’t believe in that. I come here with a clean slate.”
Diana, a retired police officer who lost to Councilwoman Susan Siegel last November in a special election and to Highway Superintendent Dave Paganelli in 2013, proved the old adage that the third time is a charm as he defeated Yorktown Small Business Association founder Giordano for the right to serve the last nine months of former Councilman Nick Bianco’s unexpired term.
Running with Republican and Conservative backing, Diana received 1,899 votes (55%) to 1,559 (45%) for Giordano, who ran on the Democratic and Independence lines. As of press time, 42 of the 43 election districts reported results.
“A lot of hard work paid off,” Diana said. “I think people know me at this juncture. We campaigned the right way, we ran a very clean campaign and I think people respect that.”
Giordano, who ran unsuccessfully for supervisor 12 years ago, said supporters of Diana and Bernard did a better job motivating voters to go out to the polls.
“They got their base out,” said Giordano, who noted the Republicans also received the backing of the New York State Republican Committee, which sent out three mailings to voters. “It was a short campaign. We did a great job.”
In the race to fill the final two years and nine months of former Councilman and current State Senator Terrence Murphy’s unexpired term, Bernard, a former councilman, comfortably bested Brackett, who was running for elected office for the first time. Bernard received 1,989 votes (59%) to 1,408 (41%) for Brackett.
“I learned a lot, some good things and some really bad things,” Brackett remarked to disappointed supporters at Thyme restaurant. “I want to thank everyone here for taking a chance on me.”
Siegel and Councilman Vishnu Patel, who are now outnumbered 3-2 on the board, urged Democratic leaders to look optimistically to November, when three board seats, including the supervisor, will be up for grabs.
Democratic Committee Vice Chairman Lisa Mackay said the committee has less than nine months to try to loosen the Republican stranglehold.
“We worked hard. It was an amazing effort,” she said. “We ran a great social media campaign. They ran a good smear campaign. The inaccuracies, the half-truths—it was very frustrating.”