CARMEL, N.Y.— Overwhelmingly given the Republican designation to succeed Assemblyman Steve Katz in the 94th assembly district, Kevin Byrne now faces a primary challenge from fellow Mahopac resident Suzi McDonough.
And he could have a second challenger, William Faulkner, a Somers town councilman, who said he is still weighing his options.
But Carmel Councilwoman Suzi McDonough showed no such reticence. Calling last month’s convention that endorsed Byrne “just another attempt by party bosses to keep a lid on the status quo,” McDonough, in a statement, predicted a decisive victory in a September primary showdown.
“Not being endorsed by proxies and the political machine is fine with me,” she said.
At least five Republicans—including Byrne, in his first bid for elected office—had actively sought the party’s formal blessing. That field had dwindled to three—Byrne, McDonough and Faulkner—by the time the Westchester and Putnam GOP met in convention April 28.
Committeemen from the 94th district, which comprises pieces of both Putnam and Westchester counties, chose Byrne in a landslide. In weighted balloting, his 14,562 votes were more than three times the combined total for McDonough (3,681) and Faulkner (974).
Asked whether he also planned to bring a primary challenge, Faulkner said only that he was “keeping my options open. No decision has been made.”
In the 94th assembly district. race, a Putnam residency gives candidates a decided geographic edge. The county has four of the district’s six towns as well as most of its people (more than 74,000 based on the 2010 census vs. less than 57,000 in Westchester). Carmel, the district’s most populous town, is home to both Byrne and McDonough.
A day after winning his party’s endorsement, Byrne was seriously injured in a Brewster auto accident, breaking his right knee and suffering other injuries when another car, traveling at high speed, crossed into his lane, he said, and collided head-on with him.
Byrne is a regional director with the American Heart Association, making his first bid for elected office. A member of the Mahopac Valley Planning Board before moving to Mahopac, he was also a deputy district director for former Rep. Nan Hayworth in the 19th Congressional District.
A volunteer emergency medical technician, active in scouting, Byrne lives with his wife, Briana, and their dog, Tracker.
McDonough, a lifelong Mahopac resident and mother of five, is a member of the Carmel Town Board. After losing her husband to cancer in 2005, she now helps run a non-profit organization that assists the families of those who have been diagnosed with the disease.