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De Chiaro, Huff Win Pelham Town Justice Election

UPDATE: The Westchester County Board of Elections posted final unofficial numbers for the Pelham town justice election on its website. John De Chiaro received 1,096 votes, or 28 percent of the total. Stephen Huff received 1,084 votes, also 28 percent of the total. Mercedes Maldonado earned 907 votes for 23 percent of the total, while George Bischof received 690 votes for 18 percent of the total. Conservative Party candidate Stephen Ruffino earned 129 votes for three percent of the votes.

PELHAM, N.Y. – Republicans John De Chiaro and incumbent Stephen Huff have won Pelham’s town justice election in a tight race, according to unofficial results.

De Chiaro, an Italy native, recited an Italian quote when asked how he felt after he learned of his victory. The quote, he said, means, “you cannot really understand until you experience it,” De Chiaro said. “It feels great to be atop of the mountain today.”

De Chiaro and Huff narrowly defeated Democrat Mercedes Maldonado. Democrat George Bischof placed fourth in the race. With 90 percent districts reporting Tuesday night, De Chiaro earned 1,098 votes, while Huff came in just behind him at 1,084 votes – Maldonado made it a tight race with 907 votes. Bischof earned 690 votes.

Huff did not return several phone calls for comment.

De Chiaro credited his campaign manager, Frank DelPonte, for making his victory possible. Though De Chiaro lost in the last election, he decided to pursue his goal.

“I knew that I could do it, and I stuck to it,” De Chiaro said. “The more I went out and met the people and went around and I got this great reception from everybody, it just made me go on further.”

De Chiaro said he will be sworn in on Jan. 1. He said he plans to eat, drink and celebrate Tuesday night.

Five candidates ran for the two town justice seats in Pelham. Huff has served Pelham for more than 30 years as a judge and was the only incumbent in the race. The other longtime judge, Anthony Pasquantonio, decided earlier this year not to run for reelection.

Huff ran on the Republican and Conservative lines, while De Chiaro ran only on the Republican line. Bischof and Maldonado were both Democratic candidates only. Ruffino, who finished third in the Republican primary, ran on the Conservative line.

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