Election 2010: Voters Choice

Read what two local Congressional candidates have to say about the issues — and preview three state races that will have an impact on the Valley


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greg ballCommon ground? Incumbent Greg Ball and his Democratic challenger, Michael Kaplowitz (right), vie for the State Senate seat in the 40th District. Both candidates have pledged to cap property and school taxes for those over 65

State Senator, 40th District:

Greg Ball vs. Michael Kaplowitz

Greg Ball may be the most enigmatic politician from Putnam County since John Cesar stalked the streets of Brewster collecting discarded cans to fund a mayoral run. (He won!) Last May, the 33-year-old Republican assemblyman announced he was taking on John Hall for New York’s 19th congressional seat, then zigzagged across the district shaking hands and snagging headlines. In November, he abruptly dropped out of the race and declared his candidacy for the State Senate’s 40th District seat, explaining Albany still needed reforming. The Senate Republican Campaign Committee, apparently displeased with the prospect of Ball’s return to the capital, funneled tens of thousands of dollars to his opponent in the Republican primary. Ball still won.

michael kaplowitz

His opponent for the seat is Michael Kaplowitz, a Democratic county legislator in Westchester. (The 40th District includes Putnam, northern Westchester, and parts of eastern Dutchess counties.) Kaplowitz, an attorney and financial planner, describes himself as a “fiscal conservative,” touting his role in keeping county sales taxes the lowest in the state and increases in property taxes around the annual rate of inflation. Ball — who brags he hosted a “tax revolt” in Carmel a year before the first tea parties — is focusing on instituting a cap on property taxes and freezing school-tax rates for taxpayers once they reach the age of 65. But Kaplowitz too pledges to cap property and school taxes.

Since there isn’t much daylight between the candidates’ platforms, the race will likely come down to which downstater presents his message most effectively. A Ball rout on November 2 saves face and erases memories of his withdrawal from the House race. A Kaplowitz win marks a milestone victory in his own career and delivers a sizable dent to his opponent’s lofty political ambitions.

» Next: The race for the Governor’s seat — Cuomo vs. Paladino
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