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They're Off: Astorino, Latimer Exchange Opening Blows In Campaign

Rob Astorino and George Latimer
Rob Astorino and George Latimer Photo Credit: Contributed

The general election race between incumbent Republican Rob Astorino and Democratic challenger Senator George Latimer for Westchester County Executive has begun, with both candidates blasting the other Wednesday.

Latimer, who defeated Ken Jenkins in Tuesday's Democratic primary, held a press conference Wednesday where he blasted Astorino's fiscal record and claim that he has never raised taxes.

"Ask any homeowner if they believe Astorino when he says their taxes have gone down,” Latimer said. “Of course not. But every day, just like his buddy Donald Trump, Rob Astorino spins his own fake news about the county’s financial picture. We’ve been Rob’d.”

Astorino endorsed President Trump in last year's election. Latimer, flanked by homeowners, said taxes in Westchester have increased ten percent said Astorino took office. One Dobbs Ferry homeowner paid $1,818.10 in county taxes in 2011 and 2,565.33 in county taxes in 2017, according to a document provided by the Latimer campaign. Latimer said Astorino could save money by sharing services.

"If you really care about the taxpayers, you don’t ignore the real changes needed while one family after another is driven under by high taxes," Latimer said. “We have the highest taxes in the nation.

“We need to clean up our books, find real savings, stop lying, stop borrowing and get our fiscal house in order.”

William O'Reilly, a spokesman for Astorino, said Latimer was blatantly lying to Westchester taxpayers since Astorino has never raised the county tax levy since he took office.  The county tax levy has dropped from $560 million in 2010 to $548 million in 2017, O'Reilly said.

“What Mr. Latimer is saying is grossly untrue," O'Reilly said. "He knows that his 30-year record of massively raising taxes on middle-class and working-class Westchester families makes him a non-starter with Westchester families struggling to get by, so he’s trying to spread mistruths to obscure his bad record."

O'Reilly blamed the tax increases on Albany, where Latimer serves as state senator.

"He’s trying to deceive voters with arcane Albany home value formulas that constantly shift proportions around on tax bills," O'Reilly said. "This is a sad day for truthfulness in Westchester.”

Astorino also seized the day after Latimer's primary win to seek campaign volunteers.

"November 7 is election day, and it’s coming up quickly," he tweeted @RobAstorino. "Volunteer to help out by signing up now!"

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