After beyond their party endorsement, the three candidates vying for two seats on the town board are now gearing up for fall elections.
"What I really enjoyed in this primary was meeting and talking one-on-one with my neighbors and fellow voters," said Luke Vander Linden, the GOP nominee who failed to get on the Independence ticket but secured the Conservative line.
"That's what I'll do between now and election day whether that takes the form of going door-to-door, making phone calls or going to events. I love that part of it," he said.
Official results will not be posted by the Westchester County Board of Elections until after the re-canvassing process—when each machine is opened, checked against numbers provided by elections inspectors and paper ballots, on Sept. 22.
In Bedford, it appears that the Democrat incumbents, Chris Burdick and David Gabrielson have gained the Independence Party Line, and the GOP nominee, Luke Vander Linden, will appear on the Conservative Party ticket. Write-in results may also reveal Burdick having enough votes to gain the Conservative Party line as well.
The party or the person?
Each candidate said picking up additional ballot lines was an important part of getting elected, but all remarked that at the local level, partisan politics was not as important as addressing issues.
“I'd say that in Bedford in particular, people do tend to vote for those they think are representing them well, regardless of party,” said Gabrielson. “It helps, yes, to have the line, and I think it shows that people who don't identify themselves as either Democrats or Republicans think that Chris and I have done a good job during the brief time we've been on the board.”
Burdick said he was pleased with obtaining the additional ballot lines. In the 2007 town board election, he received close to 10 percent of his total votes from Independent Party voters and another five percent from Conservative Party voters.
"The Independence Party is especially important in a year when voters are feeling disaffected by the major political parties," he said. "In a close election it can spell the difference. But I don’t agree with every single tenet of any one party, and I don’t think voters do, either.”
Whether Vander Linden can overcome the power of incumbency to beat out his opponents this November remains to be seen. Despite ideological differences, on local politics, he echoed their message. “People are more interested in the candidate and not the party, so I don't see not having the line as being too detrimental in the fall,” he said.
Does he have an uphill battle, given the long-time residency and network of his opponents?
Vander Linden appears unfazed.
“I think that I did as well as I did [in the Indpendence Primary] is testament to people wanting some fresh ideas and a new voice in our town's leadership,” he said.
Burdick and Gabrielson seem game for the fight.
“I plan to knock on a lot of doors, Democrats, Republicans, non-affiliated voters…I look forward to the traditional debate and would welcome any new events as well,” said Gabrielson. Burdick said he would as well, and had already sent out hundreds of hand-written letters to residents.
Check back with Patch in the coming weeks for more in-depth coverage of the Town Board race.