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Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Dobbs Ferry) scored an impressive victory over six-term incumbent Assemblyman Tom Abinanti in the 92nd Assembly District’s Democratic primary Tuesday night.
With 100 percent of the districts reporting, Shimsky won by more than 900 votes (5,580-4,660), according to unofficial results from the Board of Elections.
Shimsky, who gathered with supporters and friends in Tarrytown, said her ability to listen to the residents of the district during the campaign and her years of responsiveness to constituents paid dividends in a campaign some believed would be an uphill battle.
“We got to talk to thousands of voters and listened to their concerns and talk about how I felt I would address them,” Shimksy said moments after thanking her supporters and campaign volunteers. “I think this had a lot to do with the victory. I think my focus on certain issues that we do need more of a focus on, whether it’s the flooding or the roads or the housing affordability, these are all things that counted, too.”
Along with those issues, she said she would fight to ensure gun safety and a woman’s right to choose.
Shimsky will be a heavy favorite to win the seat in November against Republican Carlo Valenti of Hawthorne in a district that has historically been tilted strongly in the Democrats’ favor. Before Abinanti, who was elected to the seat in 2010, the district was represented by Richard Brodsky for nearly 30 years.
Shimsky, who is term limited on the Board of Legislators when her current term expires at the end of 2023, had been Brodsky’s community relations director before seeking elected office.
Abinanti, reached on Wednesday afternoon, said only that he will continue to work for the people of the district for the remainder of the year.
“I will continue providing services to the people of this district until Dec. 31 and I’m going to Albany to vote (on Thursday) on legislation that will remedy the problems cause by the awful decision by the United States Supreme Court” regarding abortion, Abinanti said.
Despite a sizeable registration advantage, Shimsky indicated that her campaign would not take the general election for granted.
“At this point there’s obviously a lot of work that’s going to have to be done (for) November,” Shimsky said in the company of County Executive George Latimer, several colleagues on the Board of Legislators and a host of other Democratic elected officials in the district that comprises Mount Pleasant, Greenburgh and for the first time a small piece of northwestern Yonkers. “This race should not be too difficult, but as the county executive said, there’s an awful lot going on in a lot of places that if we don’t really do the very best we can, we can end up with a country that’s in very horrendous shape.”
While anytime an incumbent loses raises eyebrows, in hindsight the result might not have been all that surprising. Two years ago, Abinanti was challenged in the primary by Jennifer Williams, a virtual political unknown, who ran a competitive race before losing.
Despite a sometimes bruising campaign, Shimsky thanked Abinanti for his public service. Before the Assembly, Abinanti started his political career on the Greenburgh Town Board before moving onto the Board of Legislators. He held the seat before Shimsky succeeded him.
“This has been a very spirited campaign, and I would like to congratulate my opponent, Tom Abinanti,” Shimsky said. “He served this community, or parts of it, for 35 years. He has done some really good things in those 35 years and we honor his service.”
When asked on the factor for his defeat or what he might have been able to do differently, Abinanti refused to comment.
“I’ve taken the high road this far, I’ll stay there,” he said.
This article has been updated since its original posting.
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/