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Breakaway Westchester Democrats wary of challengers
Westchester County Democrats don't appear to be fielding challengers against Legis. Mike Kaplowitz (D-Somers) and Legis. Virginia Perez (D-Yonkers), the lawmakers who crossed party lines last year to give Republican County Executive Rob Astorino the two Democratic votes he needed to enact his 2013 budget.
But that doesn't mean Kaplowitz and Perez aren't looking over their shoulders.
“I'm sure there are people with motivations,” said Kaplowitz, when asked whether he knew if anyone was thinking of running against him for the party's nomination. “But do they go forward with it or back off?”
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Perez was feeling more pressure.
“I got a phone call over the weekend from a very reliable source telling me the Working Families Party began interviewing people to run against me,” she said.
Usually, the Working Families Party and the Democrats are allies.
Neither lawmaker said they regretted their budget votes. Both were proud they participated in bipartisan compromise. But the two don't caucus now with the other Democrats or the Republican minority on the Board of Legislators.
“If my independence means we have to be at odds, so be it,” Perez said.
Perez wondered why she was hearing rumors of candidates gearing up to unseat her while Kaplowitz seemed less besieged.
“Is it because I'm newly elected?” she asked. “Is it because I'm a woman? A minority?”
While her gender and ethnicity could play a role in the political chill, Kaplowitz suggested Perez just needed more time to solidify her hold on power.
“I've been there (on the board) for 16 years,” he said. “She's been there quite a bit less. Who would naturally run against me in a primary? These are friends of mine.”