Goldens Bridge's Robert Castelli Seeks GOP Primary For State Senate Seat

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Robert Castelli at his primary bid announcement in South Salem.
Robert Castelli at his primary bid announcement in South Salem. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. -- Standing with supporters in front of the entrance to Lewisboro’s town house, former state Assemblyman Robert Castelli announced a Republican primary bid for the state Senate seat in the 40th District.

Castelli, who will need petition signatures to force a primary, lost the backing of the Republican convention in Westchester and Putnam counties to Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy, who was endorsed by the current holder of the seat, Greg Ball, who is not seeking re-election.

Castelli, a Goldens Bridge resident, was critical of the short timing between Ball’s decision not to run for re-election, which was on Friday, May 16 and of Westchester’s convention, which was the following Monday, May 19. He explained that representatives from several towns sought a postponement for 10 days, an option that failed in a vote from other officials.

Talking to local reporters, Castelli touted his experience versus Murphy and Democratic candidate Justin Wagner. He also spoke favorably of support he has received from Democrats, mentioning those from predominately Democratic areas.

“You must serve apolitically,” he said when talking about bipartisanship.

Castelli was elected to his assembly seat in a February 2010 special election, holding it in the general election that November. He lost his re-election bid in 2012 to David Buchwald, who is the current incumbent.
A press release from Murphy’s campaign included critical commentary about Castelli.

“We've said from day one that the 40th District is THE pivotal seat in the Senate if we are to take a mathematical majority. The Governor has made his deal with the extremists and they are hell bent on flipping the Senate to the extreme left, which would raise taxes, kill job growth, provide amnesty to illegals and legalize recreational drug use. Sadly Bob Castelli is a creature of Albany and his record shows he is happy to do the bidding of Governor Cuomo, and the last time I looked we had liberal special interests to doing just that. Bob has yet to separate himself from the Cuomo regime, and honestly that should give everyone great concern.”

The press release added: “Bob is a good man, a veteran and a public servant, but by the end of his last term in Albany, New York was on a downward slide into the abyss we now find ourselves in: We pay the highest taxes in America and we are the least business friendly state in the nation.”

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Comments (3)

Mr. Castelli has always served with honor, distinction and with total commitment to those he has served throughout his life and continues to do so!
He has been dedicated to serving the public in so many ways and has been outstanding in every aspect of what he does
Mr. Castelli has my full endorsement for NY State Senate and I encourage others to do the same

Adam Ochs

(From Yorktown News, online edition, letters to the editor)

To the editor,

I read with some amusement my opponent's attempt to define me as a candidate. On some of these issues he is of course correct. I am a Vietnam Veteran, former member of the NY State Police and college professor, and I served with dignity in the NY State Assembly for two terms. However, after that is where his description parts from the truth. To describe me as cozy with the Governor or a "creature of Albany" is a real stretch.

Yes, I had a good working relationship with this Governor; after all, he is the Chief Executive of the State, not to mention a former constituent of mine. Further, I and every other Republican and Conservative worked with him to accomplish our agenda: the tax cap, three on-time budgets, a middle-class tax cut and the repeal of the MTA payroll tax, and upon doing so we complimented him on a cooperative effort for working with us, for the good of all New Yorkers. In point of fact, Dean Skelos and Brian Kolb, the Republican leaders of the Senate and Assembly (respectively), praised him for those measures, and so did every other Republican and Conservative, including me. While I disagree with the Governor on substantive issues like Common Core and the NYSAFE Act, I still treat him with the respect due the office.

However, you have to ask yourself: why would my opponent describe me in a way that better suits him, the hand-picked replacement of Greg Ball and the anointed candidate of the party bosses in Albany? If I am so bad or liberal, why then was I the endorsed candidate of both the Republican and Conservative Parties in four out of four past elections? Why did the New York Times describe me as "the kind of reformer that Albany needs!" or Mayor Ed Koch formally name me a "Hero of Reform" for standing up to the same party bosses endorsing my opponent? For that matter, we should ask ourselves why my opponent's own hometown Republican Committee honored me as "Public Servant of the Year" last year, while he held office in the same town?

As public servants, we who serve the public trust must work cooperatively with members on both sides of the aisle, to do the work that you send us up there to do. That does not require giving firebrand speeches or insulting all the folks you need to work with tomorrow. It also does not require anyone to sell their soul or compromise their principles, either. It does however, require that we, as your public servants, work cooperatively with all our colleagues to get the job done, and to that I plead guilty as charged, and am proud of it!

Former Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli
Candidate for NY State Senate