Republican Nelson Canter has unseated incumbent Ronald Bianchi (D) for one of two town justice seats, according to unofficial results the board of elections is expected to certify this week.
Unofficial results have Canter winning the second seat by 81 votes, but at one point during final counts Bianchi drew to within single digits. Absentee ballots were counted on Nov. 22 and proved critical given the close margin.
Harrison has two justice positions and the top two vote getters take office.
Incumbent Marc Lust received 3,496 votes to lead all candidates. Center finished with 2,338 to Bianchi's 2,257, to claim the second seat. Pasquale Gizzo finished fourth with 1,529 votes.
This is the first time in 26 years a challenger has defeated an incumbent in a town justice race, according the Harrison Report.
Canter said he was able to build momentum through a dedicated campaign that included nightly trips to doorsteps all over town. A 30-year veteran of the Purchase Fire Department and lifetime Harrison resident, Canter thanked supporters and said while exhausting, he enjoyed the months spent on the campaign trail.
"It gave me the opportunity to meet many residents of Harrison who I otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet," he said. "I'm really looking forward to hitting the ground running."
Canter said he hopes his experience in the courtroom will be an asset to the town moving forward. He served as assistant district attorney in Westchester County from 1987 to 1992 and served as a managing partner of a national law firm from 1998 to 2004 before establishing a private practice. He said once the results are made official he is looking forward to helping in one of the busiest local courts in Westchester County.
"It's really special because I've had experience on both sides, as a prosecutor and as defense council," he said. "Going in as a judge I would hope that I could bring the perspectives of both sides in being fair and objective."
Canter will be sworn in on Jan. 1, 2012 along with several other first-term Republicans, including Mayor/Supervisor-Elect Ron Belmont, Town Clerk Elect-Jackie Greer and Town Council-Elect Steve Malfitano.
It will be an exciting day for the G.O.P. and an important day for Canter, who said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve his community.
"I love being in court, I love litigating and I love giving back the community," Canter said. "I have a good opportunity to do all of it."