The two most watched and possibly most heated elections in Westchester County will be the 2023 Mount Vernon and Yonkers Mayoral races. Each will have at least 3-4 candidates running in the Democratic primary. But, unlike Mount Vernon which is primarily a Black run heavily Democratic run municipality, the winner of the Yonkers Democratic Mayoral race will face a Republican challenger in the General Election.
While all eyes will be on be on the heated elections of Mount Vernon like the previous year, the many moving parts in Yonkers makes them a contender for the most watched and covered election. In addition to the mayoral race, there are some other interesting storylines that will play out this year include Councilwoman Shanae Williams challenging County Legislator Christopher Johnson. Greenburgh’s primary will also be one to watch we will do a deep dive in that race in a later editorial.
Back to Yonkers, 29-year-old Councilwoman Shanae V. Williams succeeded Johnson in the District 1 council seat when Johnson vacated it after being elected to serve on the Westchester Board of Legislators for the 16 District representing the city of Yonkers. Johnson was elected to fill the seat vacated by Ken Jenkins when he was picked by County Executive George Latimer to serve as his Deputy County Executive, the first African American to hold the position.
Shanae was appointed by Mayor Spano on January 1, 2018, for the rest of Johnson’s term and then she ran and successful ran for a full-term in 2019. Williams challenge of Johnson will be heavily watched and publicized; it also leaves the District 1 seat up for grabs. Contenders include Deana Norman-Robinson, who has 6 years of experience working as an aide to Councilwoman Shanae Williams and many think she is the favorite to succeed Williams. But she will have to face Effie Phillips and Shatika Parker in the June 27, 2023, Democratic Primary. Parker is the former Legislator Aide for Legislator Christopher Johnson, who many insiders say Johnson planned to back against Williams in the Council race. Williams instead decided to challenge Johnson for his seat in the Board of Legislators.
Now let’s talk about the mayoral race. Mayor Mike Spano is just beginning his 11th year in office. After being elected twice, the city council have voted to extend term limits twice which allowed him to run for a third term in 2019, which he won, easily defeating republican Mario De Giorgio and now a fourth term. The Council voting for the extension of term limits has been contested by Yonkers voters who feel they should have given the opportunity to vote of term limits especially since the last the residents overwhelming voting against extending term limits back in 2001.
Spano, the incumbent while favored will have face at least two Democrats, Rev. Margaret Fountain Coleman – who announced her candidacy on January 15th – and the young Prince Robinson who is challenging Spano for a second election in a row. he ran as a write-in candidate in 2019. Rev. Fountain-Coleman made history as the first African American to serve as a trustee in the Village of Tuckahoe in March 2018 and was also elected to the town council in South Boston, Viriginia.
If Spano is victorious in the primary, it’s not a done deal he will still have to face Republican Councilman Anthony Merante in the November 7, 2023, General Election. Anthony Merante officially announced his candidacy for Yonkers mayor at a campaign kick-off event Saturday, January 28th at the Mount Olympus Diner off Central Avenue. Merante is the city council member from the Sixth District and the first and so far the only Republican to announce he’s running for mayor of Yonkers in 2023.
Democratic Councilwoman Corazon Pinada Issac‘s names has been thrown around among possible other challengers although so far no one else has announced their candidacy.
The other seat up in this election is the District 3 Council seat. Council Minority Leader Tasha Diaz is running for re-election, so far unopposed.
Yonkers is often called “The City of Hills” where many joke it the city “where nothing is on the level”, but it’s a city with broad shoulders and a big heart. The city of Yonkers is the most populous city in Westchester County is also now ranked as the third biggest city in New York State, according to 2020 U.S. Census data.
This is a First Look into the Yonkers 2023 Democratic Primary, of course all of this can change as the candidates have yet to make the ballot yet! Stay Tuned to Black Westchester for interviews, articles and updates on this and many other Westchester County 2023 Elections!