Rockland Elections: What happened to the ‘Trump effect’?
“The “blue wave” that brought Democrats to power across the region and the nation skipped Rockland County, where voters on Tuesday returned Republicans to county and town offices and in general seemed adverse to change.
And although fear of becoming “another Ramapo” fueled victories in several towns, in Ramapo itself voters expressed no displeasure with a Democratic regime that has been in place during a period marked by corruption, lax zoning and overdevelopment.
Early returns out of Ramapo led Democratic challenger Maureen Porette to declare that the “Trump effect” was in play, but GOP County Executive Ed Day was easily elected to a second term once the tallies started rolling in from his home base in Clarkstown.
Turnout was slightly lower than when Day first won office: In 2013, 43 percent of registered voters casts their ballots compared with 42 percent in 2017, according to numbers from the Rockland County Board of Elections.
‘The Ramapo effect’
County GOP Chairman Lawrence Garvey said Rockland voters focused on the “Ramapo effect” — not what’s happening in Washington, D.C.
“Ed (Day) and George (Hoehmann, Clarkstown supervisor) and (Orangetown Supervisor-elect) Chris Day were all focusing on quality of life in Rockland. Ramapo is a concern to everyone. What it looks like up there is not what anyone else wants to be across the county.”
Garvey said Republican candidates were by and large able to overcome a countywide enrollment disadvantage, plus a higher Democratic turnout as pro-union forces voted overwhelmingly against the statewide Constitutional Convention proposition.
Rockland Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky attributed Day’s victory to “the Donald Trump playbook” by deploying “the politics of fear and bias” to stoke fear of Ramapo’s growing religious community.
“As Democrats we will not stop holding Ed Day accountable for this hateful rhetoric,” Zebrowski Stavisky Wednesday.
Day during the campaign strongly denied accusations of anti-Semitism, and on Tuesday night spoke about working to bridge the “divide in Rockland County.”
“It doesn’t mean we can’t fix it,” Day said. “We have to find a common ground. I pledge I will go anywhere to make that outreach. We have to remember this is a two-way street. I stand on the credo, equal treatment for all, special preference for none.”
Read The Journal News review for the entire County, including Ramapo, here.