Local Democratic candidates win in most races, though results in voting for county, state judges undeclared


Margot Phillips

Village of Pelham voters enter the Daronco Town House after waiting an hour to vote before midday.

Local Democratic candidates won most of the races on Tuesday evening, in some cases due to lack of opposition, while winners for county and state judgeships had yet to be declared. With rising cases of Covid-19, Americans voted in historically large numbers, many using early or mail-in ballots, which slowed counting across the county.

At the federal level, Jamaal Bowman faced minor opposition in his campaign for election to Congress in the New York 16th District, which includes Pelham. Bowman declared victory via social media shortly after polls closed in New York. Bowman led by 83% at time of publication, according to unofficial results published by the New York State Board of Elections. The Congressman-elect received national recognition as a progressive candidate, garnering attention from activists, elected officials and the national news media after winning the Democratic primary against incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel.

Bowman, an African American and a former principal in the Bronx, entered the race facing long odds, with Engel having the backing of much of the Democratic establishment and the progressive vote split among multiple candidates. After a consolidation of the progressive candidates behind Bowman, he received increased media attention following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and eventually defeated Engel by more than 10,000 votes.

Democratic State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, a Pelham Memorial High School alum, secured victory over Republican James Gisondi, who she defeated previously in the June Democratic primary, and Conservative Antonio Vitiello. As of publication, Biaggi had 67% of the vote, according to state board of elections unofficial results. Now a notable name in New York progressive politics, Biaggi was first elected to her seat two years ago after defeating incumbent Jeff Klein, a member of the Independent Democratic Caucus, in the primary for Senate District 34.

In the Village of Pelham, incumbent Trustee Hanan Kamal Eldahry, alongside newcomers Kim McGreal and Russell Solomon, ran unopposed for three seats on the village board of trustees. McGreal and Solomon are in line to replace Trustees Ciro Greco and Peter Potocki, who also serves as deputy mayor. This is the first time in village history trustee seats were on the November ballot, following a 2019 referendum that moved village elections from their traditional March date.

Incumbent Town Justice John Gardner, who switched parties from Republican to Democrat, was also elected unopposed to another term, becoming only the second Democratic judge in town history.

Democrat Mimi Rocah, who defeated incumbent Westchester District Attorney Anthony Scarpino in the primary in June, effectively ran unopposed after Bruce Bendish, her Republican opponent, terminated his campaign weeks ago, according to the Journal News. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin ran unopposed.

There were additional elections for Westchester Family Court justices, but the Westchester Board of Elections unofficial results did not reflect the number of ballots outstanding as of time of publication. At the state level, four judgeships were up in the 9th Judicial District of the State Supreme Court, though over 100 election districts still had not reported, per the unofficial results posted to the state board of elections site.