The Republican primary didn’t just shake up the race for Yorktown supervisor.
It might well have triggered a move for new leadership of the Republican Town Committee, possibly putting a political staffer with ties to both the town’s state legislators at the helm of the local party.
Under county by-laws, the committee has 20 days after a primary to hold a reorganization caucus, which is set for Wednesday night. Chairwoman Serafina Mastro declined to comment on the ramifications of that vote, but Matt Slater said today he is vying for the post.
Slater, 25, works for state Assemblyman Steve Katz, R-Yorktown, has worked with former Assemblyman and current state Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, and was campaign manager for current Councilman Terrence Murphy in 2009. The vote will take place at Murphy’s, the restaurant Murphy co-owns.
A 2004 Yorktown High School graduate, Slater said he had met with Mastro and current party leadership about his intentions so they should come as no surprise.
“I made some phone calls as to whether people think it’s a good idea, and I’ve been getting a fair amount of support,” he said today. “So we’ll see what happens. Until then nothing is set in stone.”
The election is being billed by some as a potential rebuke of current Supervisor Susan Siegel, who was defeated in the primary by former town attorney Michael Grace after she was tapped by the GOP committee as its nominee.
“I really think it would be good for a change, and maybe they’ll elect Republicans for a change and not Democrats who change to Republican,” said Republican district leader Ed Ciffone.
Ciffone blames the GOP committee for supporting Dave Paganelli, a registered Democrat, and Nick Bianco, a registered Conservative, over him and for backing Siegel, a Democrat when she first ran in 2009. Republicans successfully challenged Ciffone’s primary petitions and his write-in bid appears to have fallen well short of wresting the nomination away. An official count is expected later this week.
Siegel had little to say about the political maneuvering, focusing her attention on Grace and to a lesser extent on Democrat Don Peters as she wages a reelection bid on Conservative and independent party backing, though the former is still in doubt.
Siegel said she’s no politician except in the strictest sense of holding elected office.
“That’s not Susan Siegel,” she said. “Susan Siegel is interested in good government. That is not why I ran. I am not interested in politics.”
In a blog post at PennysaverCommunity.com, former North County News publisher and Chase Media executive Bruce Apar broke the news of Slater’s candidacy, citing unnamed sources in describing the shake-up as a power play by Murphy, who is running for county legislator in District 4, with Ball’s backing.
Murphy claims there’s nothing to that speculation.
“This is something that Matt wants to do,” he said. “I’m not the figurehead behind this, that’s for sure.”
Murphy said Slater’s aspirations have been well known for some time and that he advised his former campaign aid to discuss it with Mastro in advance.
“I’m not trying to be any kingmaker around here, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve got enough on my plate.”
Both Slater and Mastro say the party is united behind Grace as the Republican candidate for supervisor. Slater was the more critical of the two of Siegel’s decision to stay in the race.
“Michael Grace is the Republican candidate. He won the primary fair and square,” he said. “Unfortunately the current supervisor feels the need to continue down a path toward Election Day, and I wish she would accept the voters’ will and back a good candidate in Michael Grace.”