Westchester County executive race likely to be a costly fight

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)

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The race for Westchester County executive is shaping up to be a costly battle between incumbent Republican Rob Astorino and challenger Noam Bramson, the Democratic mayor of New Rochelle.

Astorino raised around $1.03 million in the six months before Tuesday, the deadline for filing campaign finance reports with the state Board of Elections.

Astorino hasn't announced his plans to run for re-election, though he's widely expected to do so. After expenses, he has more than $2.2 million in campaign funds.


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Bramson has raised nearly $427,000 since he announced his candidacy in December. In addition, he has transferred about $110,000 from his mayoral fund into his county executive campaign funds.

Other Democrats who have announced their intention to run for county executive -- Board of Legislators chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and Legis. Bill Ryan (D-White Plains) -- have not published their reports on the Board of Elections website.

Although it was widely anticipated for months that he would run for county executive, Jenkins entered the race only about two weeks ago. He has raised about $176,000 and, after expenses, has $218,000 in campaign funds.

"Being able to raise that amount of money in that amount of time was extremely gratifying," he said.

Ryan said he had filed papers with the board but hadn't raised any money for his bid yet.

"I'll be beginning that now that we passed the first of the year," he said.

Astorino campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud said the report shows that county residents approve of the county executive's performance in office. Astorino was first elected in 2009.

"If you do your job well, people are encouraged by that and they want you to keep at it," Proud said. "That's what we feel this filing shows."

In a statement, Bramson said his campaign's success with fundraising proves he would be a formidable challenger to the popular county executive. He has about $528,000 in cash on hand.

"The quality of our ideas is still much more important than the size of our war chest, but with this outstanding demonstration of support, our campaign is off to an excellent start," he said.

Political observers have suggested that Democrats are likely to use the vast majority of their funds for get-out-the-vote efforts because Democrats outnumber Republicans in the county by a ratio of 2 to 1.

"This race is going to get won in the grassroots in the community," Jenkins said.

Astorino will counter those efforts by reaching out to voters to demonstrate that he has made good on his promises to keep taxes stable and curb government spending, Proud said. The Astorino campaign will make sure that message reaches people via the media, campaign events and a strong network of campaign workers and volunteers, Proud added.

"He laid out a very clear vision of where he wanted to take the county," she said. "We're very proud of the fact that we've accomplished most of those goals."

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If the election were held today, whom would you vote for?

Rob Astorino Noam Bramson Ken Jenkins Bill Ryan

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