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McKinstry: Primary battle shaping up in Westchester

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson has raised nearly

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson has raised nearly $427,000 for his campaign for Westchester County executive. (Dec. 4, 2012) (Credit: Faye Murman)

We have ourselves a race.

Democrat Noam Bramson raised an impressive $427,000 in the last month, bringing his total to more than half a million dollars for his bid to become Westchester County executive.

That leapfrogs the New Rochelle mayor ahead of the presumed front-runner, Ken Jenkins, a Yonkers Democrat who chairs the county Board of Legislators. Jenkins pulled in $176,000, bringing his total to $218,000, according to recent campaign filings with the state Board of Elections.


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Bramson’s sizable war chest is just about double what Republican County Executive Rob Astorino had during the same filing period when he was a challenger in 2009 and went on to beat three-term incumbent Andy Spano. That year Astorino had $211,000 in the early stages of his campaign.

Bramson’s success shows he can raise cash in a race that won’t be cheap. A fat piggy bank and well-financed campaign ought to go a long way with Democratic Party leaders as they figure out whom to get behind in their efforts to oust Astorino, a first-term Republican and prolific fundraiser.

Astorino picked up another $1 million, bringing his war chest to $2.2 million, according to his most recent filing.

Nonetheless, Jenkins remains undeterred.

“This race isn’t about who has the most money,” Jenkins told me recently. “It’s about who has a message that’s consistent with the people of Westchester.”

That message will clearly be targeted toward the county's Democrats, who hold a 2-to-1 registration advantage over Republicans.

Jenkins said he expects to spend $500,000 in a primary (date to be determined) and another $1.5 million against the county executive. But first he’ll need the party’s nod, which this week got a little more complicated.

Legis. William Ryan, a Democrat from White Plains, hasn’t raised anything yet, so you’ve got to figure he’ll be dropping out soon enough.

In this race among Democrats, Bramson takes the lead.
 

Tags: Westchester County , Rob Astorino , Noam Bramson , Ken Jenkins , Andy Spano , Democrats , Republicans , county executive

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