In political shift, Westchester trends as influential Democrat suburb

Westchester County has increasingly become more Democratic in recent years. AP

After decades as a Republican stronghold, New York’s Westchester County is now one of the nation’s most influential Democratic suburbs, according to a new analysis of this year’s election data.

Population shifts triggered by the coronavirus pandemic have tilted Westchester, the city’s largest northern suburb, into a blue bastion that helped rescue Gov. Kathy Hochul’s re-election bid — and blunted the the Republican Party’s widely anticipated “red wave,” Politico reported Saturday.

“Westchester is almost becoming the sixth borough,” former Republican county executive Rob Astorino said. “It’s becoming an extension, in some ways, of Manhattan.”

Current County Executive George Latimer, the Democrat who defeated Astorino in 2017, agreed that the county’s electorate is now “completely different.”

In political shift, Westchester trends as influential Democrat suburb

Gov. Hochul defeated Lee Zeldin in Westchester by 20%.

Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

“There has been a turnover,” Latimer said. “Long-time residents have packed up and moved to Florida, and they’ve been replaced by young professionals coming up out of the city … they bring a different mindset.”

Nassau and Suffolk Counties, the Long Island suburbs east of New York City, shifted sharply Republican in the 2022 midterm elections — flipping two formerly Democrat-held House seats into the GOP’s column, and turning all four of the island’s congressional districts red.

But Westchester has become more Democratic, adding nearly 15,000 Dems to its active voter rolls since 2019 — while losing more than 7,000 Republicans.

In political shift, Westchester trends as influential Democrat suburb

Westchester County has seen an increase in young professionals moving into its neighborhoods.

Politico

“It’s that highly educated, affluent white liberal that bought houses at ungodly amounts of money, sight unseen, during the pandemic and thinks Republicans are the devil,” Astorino said of his former constituents — who gave Hochul a staggering 20-point margin over her challenger, Republican Lee Zeldin.

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