This week, Albany Update profiles a key State Senate race in the Hudson Valley. In Senate District 40, Sen. Pete Harckham (D-Lewisboro), a first-term senator, will face off against former Westchester County Executive and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino (R-Mount Pleasant). This race figures to be hotly contested, as Astorino is—by far—the most well-known Republican seeking to unseat a Democratic state senator.
Sen. Harckham narrowly defeated Sen. Terrence Murphy in the 2018 Democratic wave election in New York. A businessman and communications professional, the Senator was a member of the Westchester County Board of Legislators for eight years. In 2015, Sen. Harckham was hired as assistant director of the New York State Office of Community Renewal. Since being elected to the Senate, Sen. Harckham has served as Chair of the Committee on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse and as Co-Chair of the Senate Joint Task force on Opioids, Addiction and Overdose Prevention. On his campaign website, the Senator touts his role in passing a permanent property tax cap, extending waiting periods for gun purchasers, fighting climate change, and passing the abortion expansion bill known as the Reproductive Health Act.
Before entering politics, Rob Astorino worked as a television host and a producer. He has a long history of public service, including stints on the Mount Pleasant Board of Education, the Mount Pleasant Town Board, and the Westchester County Board of Legislators. From 2010 to 2017, Astorino served as Westchester County Executive. Astorino ran for Governor of New York in 2014, but lost to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In his 2017 bid for a third term as County Executive, Astorino was defeated by George Latimer. Astorino is campaigning on a platform that includes term limits, property tax cuts, and the repeal of New York’s cashless bail law. Rob Astorino identifies as a pro-life candidate.
More information about this race, and other races throughout New York, will be contained in New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation’s 2020 Voter Guide. The Guide will be available on October 1 at NewYorkFamilies.org.