CORTLANDT, N.Y. – Tuesday's primary election for Congress could prove to be a confusing one for northern Westchester voters. Two Cortlandt Democrats are battling for a chance to challenge freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-Mount Kisco) in November, but they won't be on the primary election ballot in Cortlandt.
That is because redistricting split northern Westchester down the middle. Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown have been moved to Rep. Nita Lowey's (D-Harrison) 17th Congressional District, and Republicans will choose a challenger to her.
The two Cortlandt Democrats are part of a five-way Democratic primary to pick a challenger against Hayworth in the new 18th Congressional District, which includes Bedford, Lewisboro, North Salem, Somers, Pound Ridge and North Castle. The new district lines take effect in January, after elected representatives take office.
So Democrats go to the polls Tuesday in Hayworth's 18th District, and Republicans go to the polls in Lowey's 17th District.
The Cortlandt candidates in the 18th District are Dr. Richard Becker, a cardiologist and Cortlandt Town Board member, and Buchanan resident Duane Jackson. Both candidates announced their runs before the redrawn maps were completed. Although federal law does not require the candidates to move into the new 18th District, Becker has said he will move to Goshen if he receives the nomination. Jackson said he will move but is uncertain where.
Becker received the endorsement of The New York Times and the Democratic Committee of Orange County. He recently ran unopposed to serve another term as Cortlandt Town Board member and reported raising $403,770 as of June 6, according to the Federal Election Commission website.
Jackson, the Times Square street vendor who foiled a terrorist plot when he spotted a smoking sport utility vehicle, reported raising the least money of the five candidates, at $25,300. Jackson said he is running a "word of mouth" campaign and is counting on support from veterans like himself.
Candidate Sean Patrick Maloney worked in the administrations of President Bill Clinton and Govs. Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson. Maloney received Clinton's endorsement, but The New York Times criticized his role in "Troopergate" during the Spitzer administration. Maloney is a private attorney in New York City and ran for New York attorney general in 2006. He received endorsements from the AFL-CIO and the New York State United Teachers, and reported raising $530,714 as of June 6.
Thomas Wilson, mayor of the Village of Tuxedo Park in Orange County, and Matthew Alexander, mayor of the Village of Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County, will also be on the Democratic primary ballot. Alexander reported raising $147,903 as of June 6, according to the FEC website. The most recent filing by Wilson's campaign was from the previous quarter, saying he raised $82,171 as of March 31.
Meanwhile, the incumbents are sitting on vastly larger campaign war chests. Hayworth reported raising $1.87 million as of June 6, and Lowey reported raising $1.31 million.