WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Sen. George Latimer, a Democrat from Rye, has entered the race for Westchester County executive.
Latimer said he will challenge County Legislator Kenneth Jenkins of Yonkers for the Democratic nomination for the top county elective post at the party’s May 10 convention in White Plains. But Latimer said he will not force a September primary if he is not selected as the Democratic candidate.
The nominee would face two-term incumbent Rob Astorino, a Republican, in the November election.
Latimer said he's been encouraged to run by Democratic Party leaders and locally-elected Democrats including County Legislator Catherine Parker of Rye and Mamaroneck Councilman Tom Murphy.
Latimer, a former county legislator and state Assemblyman, said he is very concerned about the long-term fiscal condition of Westchester County.
He declined to discuss expected campaign support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whom Astorino has challenged for governor, but lost. Other political observers said they expect Cuomo to help Latimer to dash Astorino's aspirations for higher elective posts.
Latimer said Astorino has overestimated sales tax revenue and borrowed to pay pensions and certioraris to avoid raising property taxes.
State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, A Democrat who represents Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh, said he has not decided whether to run for county executive.
Bill O'Reilly, a campaign spokesman for Astorino, said, "There's a time for politics and a time for governing. This is a time for governing."
"County Executive Astorino looks forward to a series of healthy, respectful debates in the Fall with whomever emerges from the Democratic Primary," O'Reilly said.