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Race For Westchester County Executive Is Turning Into A Real Dogfight

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.  (CBSNewYork) -- With Election Day coming fast, voters in the immediate northern suburbs are getting ready to choose a new Westchester County executive.

Republican Rob Astorino is seeking a second term under a spirited challenge by New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, a Democrat, CBS 2's Lou Young reported Wednesday.

The incumbent in the race is trying to keep voters focused on pocketbook issues. Republican Astorino makes his case in his TV commercials and campaign appearances in this, the highest taxed county in America.

"Under Rob Astorino's leadership Westchester families have more to spend on what's important to them," one of his ads says.

He also claims that 27,000 new jobs have been created in the past four years, and that the property tax levy has been reduced -- things that actually matter to people so they can stay in their homes. This way, seniors don't have to move to Florida and Skype their grandchildren.

However, his challenger, Bramson, is trying to broaden the argument into a reflection of national politics.

"When Rob Astorino says gun laws and women's issues don't matter -- he's wrong," a Bramson ad says.

Bramson is basking in a recent endorsement by former President Bill Clinton and pounding on social issues he hopes will turn the large Democratic registration lead in the county to his advantage.

"This is really a contest between a mainstream Clinton Democrat and tea party Republican. Mr. Astorino opposes a woman's right to choose. He opposes sensible gun safety regulations. He opposes marriage equality. All those issues have direct implications for county policy making," Bramson says on an ad.

On the streets some seem to be hearing that message.

"I like Noam Bramson because I think he's done a good job in New Rochelle and I think he's a moderate," Westchester voter Madeline Berry said.

The challenger predicts the election will be close.

"Mr. Astorino has the advantage of incumbency, which has given him four years to become well known on a personal basis," Bramson said.

While some voters said they are ready for change, others said they like what they've got.

"Astorino, because he's straight, honest," voter Rocco Orsino said.

"Bramson, because I like his ideas and he's a Democrat," Don Hammer added.

With bi-partisan endorsements, Astorino's campaign is exuding optimism as the days count down in the final stretch before Election Day.

"It's 2-to-1 Democrat enrollment, but that didn't matter in 2009 and hope it won't matter and expect it won't matter this time," Astorino said.

The candidates were preparing for their fifth and final debate Wednesday evening.

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