Democrats Capture Key City of Newburgh Seats

NEWBURGH – It was a big night for Democrats in the City of Newburgh, as Mayor Torrance Harvey won a second term as mayor, along with councilmen-at-large Anthony Grice and Omari Shakur, and Councilman Robert Sklarz.

Shakur, an outspoken community activist, took the seat that Hillary Rayford will vacate at the end of the year.

“Now I’m going to be on the other side of the table,” he said of his victory. “Right now I’m going forward for an open mind to sit down with my mates and make sure that we’re on the same page.”

Harvey won after being appointed to succeed the late Judy Kennedy in 2018. He was ecstatic to bring more to the city he has called home for 28 years.

“I want to continue to do the work that we’ve done,” he said. “Continuity and consistency and leadership are super important.”

Grice, meanwhile, discussed the issues that matter to him the most as he faces his second term on the city council.

“We have to make sure that our roads are paved. We have to make sure that we have protect our watershed and have clean drinking water, which we do, but we have to continue to protect it,” he said. “We have to make sure that as we’re doing this investment, that people aren’t being displaced, then we have to make sure that that our economic engine is in full gear.”

Sklarz won another term as city councilman after taking over for Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobsen’s seat last year. Sklarz declined to be interviewed about his win.

Two of the incumbents’ wives expressed relief and happiness over their husbands’ victories.

“It is a win-win,” said Tina Harvey, the mayor’s wife of 19 years. “He has actually moved the city forward and done a lot of great work.”

“I am very relieved that the race is over and that my husband is in a calm state of mind where he can go forward and make the city better,” said Hasina Grice, Councilman Grice’s wife and owner of Perfect Sweets, Inc., a bakery in the City of Newburgh.

These wins come after early voting became law in New York State earlier this year. Voter turnout in the City of Newburgh has been reported to be among the top three in all of New York State this year.

Harvey’s opponent was Ali Muhammed, an Independent. Harvey won over 75 percent of the vote to Ali’s nearly 25 percent.

Grice and Shakur were both challenged by Christine Bello, a former councilwoman and mayoral candidate who ran on being a Republican voice in a Democratic-leaning city council.

Sklarz, meanwhile, was challenged by Republican John Giudice, also a former member of the council, and won with a little over 62 percent of the vote.

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