The Conservative Party Primary Election took place on September 13, 2011. The Westchester County Board of Election concluded the final count on September 23, 2011. Richard Martinelli, candidate for mayor of Yonkers garnered 202 votes cast by ballot. Those numbers were however deficient in maintaining the designation afforded Mr Martinelli as far back as January 2011. Minority Leader John Murtagh, vying to gain the designation of the Conservative Party to embellish his designation as the Republican nominee, earned the least number of write-in votes: a dismal 78. Carlo Calvi, the designated Independence Party nominee gained under 200 supporting write-in votes. Eclipsing them all is NYS Assemblyman Mike Spano who received 318 write-in votes capturing the Conservative Party line. This is the first ever situation in which a write-in vote eclipsed the regular vote usurping the intentions of the party heierarchy.
The numbers have elevated Mike Spano’s mayoral candidacy. Mr Spano now holds the Democrat and Conservative lines. Mr Martinelli ‘s last hope for political survival was extinguished. Mr Murtagh, the Republican nominee is hobbled by only having one line. Mr Calvi, sporting the Independence Party nomination will maintain his effort and continue his campaign effort until the conclusion of the General Election being held this November 8, 2011.
Extrapolating what happened is best deciphered by the numbers.
The battle lines that first drew blood date back to the days when former Mayor John Spencer presided over City Hall. Mr Spencer’s close friend and political supporter was Vincent Natrella, chairman of the Westchester County Conservative Committee. Spencer threw down the gauntlet challenging then NYS Senator Nick Spano. The taunting tactics would eventually come to blows. Anthony Auricchio, a political ally of the senator challenged the Natrella faction by exacerbating the ever divided party into its splintering factions. Mr Auricchio succeeded. Mr Spencer’s successor, present Mayor Phil Amicone kept volatile and derisive attacks against Auricchio, but was unsuccessful in removing Mr Auricchio’s hold on the party. In time, Mr Aujricchio was succeeded by his daughter Gail Burns.
Ms Burns was welcomed by the former adversarial Mayor Amicone with a job at City Hall. Despite the seemingly cozy relationship, Ms Burns was extricated from her employment at City Hall by Mr Amicone’s staff. Mayor Amicone was perturbed that Ms Burns would endorse then incumbent Westchester County Executive Andy Spano over his opponent Rob Astorino. People did not come out with pitchforks in hand but in sounded as if they had setting the stage for another showdown among disparate conservative factions.
Hugh Fox, long time political associate spurned Ms Burns. Blood was shed over control of the Yonkers City Conservative Party. John Folkerts supported Gail Burns; Vincenza Restiano supported Hugh Fox. The Folkerts faction held onto the Yonkers City Conservative Party. The challenge to unseat Ms Burns’ controlled hold failed in Yonkers, but did succeed in wrestling control from her to Mr Fox as the new chairman of the Westchester County Conservative Party. Once ensconced as its chairman, Mr Folkerts’ Yonkers City Conservative Party was stripped of his standings by Mr Fox. No matter the legal wrangling and verbal attacks, the divide among the bickering factions was maintained and continued to simmer without resolution.
The mayoral contest that would pit recent adversaries to a boil. Mr Fox would find employment with the now defunct Mayor Adam Bradley of White Plains administration, thereafter with Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. About two weeks before the September 13, 2011, Primary Elections, Ms Burns was also hired by Westchester County Board of Legislator Chairman Ken Jenkins.
Ms Burns brought out supporters for Mike Spano’s campaign effort to win in the Conservative Primary Election. With Yonkers City Clerk Vincent Spano, a registered Conservative, boosting the efforts of Ms Burns, the “fix” was in.
County Executive Rob Astorino is shivering in its boots, recognizing at long last that Mr Fox’s Weschester County Conservative Party have been proven to be weak in delivering the vote. Vincenza Restiano has also proven herself impotent in bring out the vote.
What can be said is that the political scams and games meant to diminish the opposition, whomever they were has failed on many fronts. The Conservative party, both in Yonkers and in the County are likely to escalate this skirmish into a battle to decide supremacy.
While deflected from the battles and skirmishes over control of the Yonkers landscape has revealed a new reality.
Mr Martinelli has squandered any hope of resurrecting any political viability over campaign effort mistakes that harkened to his inability to resonate with the public. Mr Murtagh, the Republican nominee is hobbled by not winning the Conservative Party nomination. Despite being a long shot, Mr Calvi’s resolve to maintain his effort will have earned him kudos among supporters and adversaries alike.
With winners come losers. Among them, count former Mayor Angelo Martinelli, former Mayor John Spencer, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, present Mayor Phil Amicone, former Minority Leader Liam McLaughlin, Chairman Hugh Fox, and Vincenza Restiano, among others.
More next week.