LEWISBORO, N.Y. In an extremely close race for the Independence Party nomination for town board, Rhea Mallett and incumbent Councilman Dan Welsh have emerged victorious.
Mallett is also the Republican nominee, while Welsh is running on the Democratic ticket.
The Independence Party had officially nominated the GOP slate of candidates, which includes Welsh and Peter Gross for town board, Peter Parsons for supervisor and Peter Ripperger for highway superintendent.
However, the Democrats accrued enough petition signatures to force a primary for the Independence nomination, although they would have to run as write-in candidates since none of them were registered Independence Party members.
The primary was held Sept. 13, but since it included a large number of write-in ballot, in addition to absentee ballots, it took the Westchester County Board of Elections several weeks to certify the results.
Mallett received 36 votes and Welsh garnered 35. Gross and incumbent Councilman John Pappalardo received 34 votes each. The top two vote getters receive the nomination.
Mallett said the tight race proved that every vote is important.
"It's an indicator that Lewisboro voters are more interested in the person and the issues and not parties and politics," she said. Mallett is a registered Democrat running on the Republication ticket. "And it shows that every single vote counts. The whole ticket did well, not just me. And I think that's because we are the embodiment of what the Independence Party is about. They didn't care that I am a Democrat."
Welsh said that anytime there is a write-in campaign, the results can be unpredictable."It can be surprising because of the whole nature of the write-in," he said. "It's a bit of a wild card."
Welsh noted that it was difficult to measure the significance of such a close vote when half the candidates were write-ins and what it ultimately means as a barometer for the upcoming general election. However, he did say that he was glad to snag the Independence Party nomination and add it to his Republican line.
"I think every little bit helps, but how much, I don't know," he said. "I'm just thankful for the people who came out and supported us. I got elected four years ago and have been plugging along ever since and decided to go for another four years and try to help out."
It has already been known that Parsons took the Independence Party nomination from incumbent Supervisor Charlie Duffy, 44-31. Incumbent Peter Ripperger defeated challenger Stephen Hill, 42-26. Cathy Cory also won the Independence Party nod with 37 votes. She is running unopposed.
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