Republican hopeful, Giulio Tata, decided to not submit his nominating petitions for Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) after it was discovered he was registered, and potentially voted, in both New York and Florida in the 2022 election.
Petitions to get on the 2023 ballot in Westchester were due on Monday, April 10th at midnight. However, no petitions for the GOP line were submitted for the district 14 seat on the Westchester County BOL. The seat is presently held by Republican-turned-Democrat David Tubiolo. He has served in that seat since he won a special election in 2016; replacing the long-standing representative, Bernice Spreckman. David’s parents are both heavily involved in politics. His father, Justin, is the former chairman of the Yonkers GOP. And his mother, Barbara, is Supervisor of Registrations at the Westchester Board of Elections. By chance or not, David will have another easy campaign season as he now stands to run unopposed for re-election. This will be his third consecutive election without an opponent in the general election.
However, this presumptive coasting to victory was not always foreseen. On February 16th, 2023, the Yonkers Republican Party held it’s nominating convention. In Yonkers, Democrats outnumber Republicans 3:1. And because of this, some races can go uncontested. However, at the county-level, the GOP has a better chance to snatch seats back from Democrats that they had lost only a few years ago. Specifically, the district 14 seat on the BOL was a prime target. Long-time Westchester resident and financial professional Giulio Tata was endorsed by the party to reclaim this seat.
The uphill climb to collect enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot began on February 28th. For this seat, 304 signatures of verified Republicans living in the 14th district are required. Having gathered that many and then some, Westchester County GOP chair Doug Colety was contacted by his Democratic counterpart Suzanne Berger just one week before the submission deadline. Berger informed Colety that their candidate, Giulio Tata, potentially had voted illegally in 2022.
At the time, no formal proof had been provided. Regardless, Colety discussed the matter with Tata, and Tata denied having voted in both his permanent residence of New York, and also in Florida where he has another property. Tata was presented with three options by the party chair. He could file the petitions and run as planned. He could file them, and then exit the race triggering the party to fill the vacancy. Or, he could not file his petitions at all. Tata ultimately chose the final option and decided not to seek a seat on the legislature.
We contacted the Florida Division of Elections ourselves to determine the validity of the allegation. Firstly, Tata has been a voter in Westchester County since 1991. He is a registered Republican that typically votes same-day and in-person in general elections–as he did on November 8th, 2022. Although, Tata had also registered as an unaffiliated voter in Miami-Dade county on December 8th, 2020. Official voting records delivered to us by formal request revealed that Tata submitted an absentee ballot in the 2022 general election in Florida. Implying that Tata did vote in both states in the same election.
While Tata never ultimately filed his Republican petitions, he did submit the handful of petitions required to get on the ballot for the Conservative Party‘s line. Nevertheless, those petitions are not likely to be affirmed and therefore there will be no Conservative candidate this year either. With no Republican or Conservative on the ballot, incumbent David Tubiolo runs unopposed again this election cycle.
When asked about Tata’s exit and running without a challenger, Tubiolo replied, “Our campaign has been focusing on the issues that matter to the people and running our race.“
Speaking with Suzanne Berger about why she brought this issue to her political rival, she plainly said that she’d want him to do the same if he were in her shoes. And in regards to Tata’s exit from the race under these circumstances, Berger said that she’s “glad any irregularities were found out before the election,” with an explicit reference to beleaguered Republican US Congress Member George Santos.
This scandal just compounds the woes of an already troubled political party. With a newly drawn map jeopardizing LD-15, no candidates for LD-14 or two out of three Yonkers City Council races, and a primary challenge in the remaining city council seat, it puts on display that the local Republican Party is in need of a full reset. That, or the few Republicans that remain can just cunningly change their party affiliation to become Democrats, as so many have done before them.