Latimer Running for State Senate and War of Words Begins

20 Mar, 2012

By Polly Kreisman

George Latimer at one of his "Coffee with George" meetings in Mamaroneck


Assemblyman George Latimer,  Rye Democrat, may not have voted for the re-configured State Senate districts, as he told us last week, but he’s going to run for the seat being vacated by longtime Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer.


Latimer announced the run in a letter that went out to district leaders this week, which, according to LoHud, reads:


“The changes we need – the changes I have fought for all my life – involve sacrifice from everybody, not just from ‘the other guy’,” Latimer wrote. “Property taxes are too high, and I have worked hard to address that major worry many of us face; it always comes up as the #1 local issue homeowners are concerned about.”


At least two Republicans have announced their intention to run for the seat: Bob Cohen, a New Rochelle businessman who was narrowly defeated by Oppenheimer in 2010; and Diane DiDonato-Roth, a North Castle councilwoman.


Cohen spokesman Bill O’Reilly responded:


“We welcome Mr. Latimer into this race, but find it head-scratching, frankly, that he would bring up property taxes in his announcement. Westchester families pay the highest property taxes in America because of what George Latimer did as a county legislator and as an assemblyman. He and the other career politicians are directly responsible for the staggering property taxes Westchester families pay today. On top of that, Mr. Latimer voted against last year’s historic property tax cap vote and he went MIA for Governor Cuomo’s pension reform vote last week that will ease costs on local governments. We look forward to discussing all these issues at length throughout this campaign.”


Latimer spokesman Brian Hegt:


Bill O’Reilly is a mouthpiece for the Senate Majority who has once again proven that the misrepresentation of facts is the only way they can hold onto their gerrymandered majority. Here’s the truth: George Latimer worked with the Governor to establish the lowest individual income tax rates in decades and repeal the MTA Payroll Tax for Small Businesses. In 2009, he voted against the State budget, which included a series of taxes and he also opposed the soda tax and entertainment tax. As Chairman of the County Board of Legislators, property taxes decreased for 3 years consecutively while George was in that position. We thank Mr. O’Reilly for his warm reception into this race and look forward to debating the FACTS, with Mr. Cohen, Ms. Roth or Mr. Terenzi, whoever the Republicans choose to nominate.


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  • kayblossom

    So, now it’s officially open season for the Republican Party of New York State’s tactics of past campaigns — persistent robocalls and insinuating postcards (which they started unofficially on the day Suzi Oppenheimer announced she wouldn’t be running).

  • Penny lane

    I voted for Bob 2 years ago because Suzi appeared to have lost her way after so many years. This time out I will be working for George. He has a proven track record and has shown us how hard he works for his constituents. Plus, these nasty robo calls confirm for me that Bob really does not want to debate the issues. If he really did, he would disavow and stop this ruinous practice.

    • kayblossom

      I agree. I voted for Bob Cohen two years ago but now am moving towards supporting George Latimer in this race because he has really done the work and well in his current position. I’m not so sure Bob Cohen has control or even an advisory role on what the Republican Party of New York State does – they have always, as far as I can tell, maintained deniability on the part of the local Republican candidates. But I did write to Bob Cohen’s campaign urging him to choose his friends carefully and look out for the state party’s tricks that alienate voters. No response as yet.

    • Anonymous

      A proven record of voting to increase taxes at every turn? That’s hardly a record to run on.

      And lets not forget, just last week, he didn’t even bother to vote on reforming the pension system. George also voted for the MTA tax when it went on the books and didn’t vote for the tax cap last year, is this the guy you want representing you? Not me, I’ll be voting for Bob Cohen.

      Why does it matter? Because the only thing keeping NYS from raising taxes to balance the last couple of budgets is the fact that the Republicans control the state senate. With the repuplicans in control of that wing of our government, there’s a slight glimmer of hope that our highest in the nation taxes won’t go higher and George isn’t the guy that’s going to vote against cutting spending or taxes, let alone intiate either of those goals.

      • jjinla

        I thought the exact same thing. If you want to see what happens when too many Democrats run around unchecked, look at Illinois or California.

        No way would I vote for Latimer. I’d sooner have a hundred more robocalls than pay higher taxes. It’s killing our property values as well as jobs.

  • kayblossom

    Just got another bird-brained robocall against George Latimer; this one sounds like someone’s teenage daughter is reading a script. Awww, how sweet. I still have received no response to my email addressed the Cohen campaign regarding disingenuous Republican Party of New York State tactics. I guess he’s just like the rest.

  • JayWine

    You can always tell when Republican operatives are blogging, because they stick to the exact same script that is in the robocall. Here in Larchmont, this is not even a hard decision – George Latimer by a country mile. The guys attacking him are clearly in cahoots with the GOP campaign. where were they over the last few campaigns? Slinging mud at Suzi Oppenheimer, or any other Democrat who came along.

    This is the Republican way. it stinks. And Cohen – whom I thought a decent guy – is not his own man. He wants the Senate seat so bad he’ll let this mudbath tar a good guy in Latimer.