Last night, on Thursday December 8 in the Dunwoodie Golf Club reception room, Yonkers City Council member Anthony Merante of the sixth district once again all-but-announces his intent to run for mayor in 2023. This is the third event that Mr. Merante has hosted in the past four months where supporters believed he would make his formal announcement. While advertised as a birthday party, last night’s event was the first where donations were suggested, leading many to believe an announcement was coming sooner rather than later. Those who were hoping were left wanting.
The roughly 100 person crowd was homogeneous and familiar. As a birthday party, the customary friends and family were present. But, as also a political event, a cadre of local GOP leaders were in attendance like Ron Matten, Devin O’Rourke, and Mike Ramondelli. Notably absent were Mike Breen and Jimmy Nolan*, two Republican electeds whose allegiance lays more with the Spano’s than to anything else.
The party was mostly social as opposed to political, with the exception of the recitation of the pledge and a few minutes of Mr. Merante’s “thank you” speech devoted to recent city issues. Chief among these issues is the recent term limits extension where Merante sided with some Democrats in a failed 4:3 attempt to block Mayor Mike Spano from overriding the charter to allow for officials to run for a fourth term. Unlike the raucous atmosphere during the council meeting on that vote, the people in this room were clear-eyed and serious about contesting this change. The council member also touched on other issues such as infrastructure and his prowess as a CPA to qualify him to manage the budget of the third largest city in New York.
However, the big questions still remain as we approach signature collection season. When will Anthony Merante formally announce? And does he have a chance to unseat an incumbent career politician from a political dynasty that will likely have three times the war chest and the shameless use of all arms of the city apparatus? While unlikely, Merante’s defeat of the Spano-annointed Tim Hodges in 2021 should have pundits question their Spano supremacy assumptions and buckle-up for an exciting race next year.
*Update: Jimmy Nolan was not in attendance due to his wife’s pregnancy. We congratulate the Nolans on their growing family.