Middletown Mayor Joe DeStefano was a happy Joe Biden supporter on Wednesday, thrilled with the former vice president's victories a day earlier in a critical set of contests for the Democratic presidential nomination.
DeStefano, who's set to be a Biden delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July, said the number of states Biden won and some of his victory margins on Super Tuesday surprised some people, especially his having beaten his rivals in Texas, Minnesota and Massachusetts. But Biden's performance just fulfilled his own expectations.
"I had confidence in the vice president all along," DeStefano said.
Cornwall-on-Hudson Mayor Brendan Coyne was less enthusiastic about the results. Coyne, a prospective Bernie Sanders delegate at the convention this summer, expected Sanders to rack up more states and delegates on Tuesday, and says he was taken aback that Biden won Minnesota - which Sanders won in the 2016 Democratic race - and Massachusetts.
“Today is a tough day in terms of processing what happened,” Coyne said.
Democratic activists and convention delegates from the Hudson Valley were either cheerful or disappointed on Wednesday about the primary results, depending on their loyalties, though each remained committed to and hopeful for his or her preferred candidate out of the three who remained in the race.
At the same time, none ruled out voting for a different nominee in November for the supreme goal of defeating President Donald Trump.
“If Sen. Sanders is the nominee, then we will rally behind him,” said Sonia Ayala of Blooming Grove, a Biden supporter and a longtime leader of the Latino Democratic Committee of Orange County.
Ayala said she was shocked by the extent of Biden's success on Tuesday. She said she had also liked former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg - who dropped out of the race and endorsed Biden on Saturday - and sees him as the Democratic Party's future, but believes Biden is “the unifier” in this year's contest and will win the nomination.
“He is genuine,” said Ayala, who has met Biden at political events. “He really talks to people.”
Terri Blancato-Horton, a Town of Newburgh resident who's set to be an Elizabeth Warren delegate in Milwaukee, said she was disappointed Warren didn't fare better on Tuesday but proud of her campaign and happy to have supported it. She said she trusted Warren to “make the right call for next steps” in her campaign.
She raved about Warren's hard work and accessibility and the issues on which she has focused, such as workplace discrimination.
“She spoke about things that have affected me as a woman for my whole life,” she said.
David Hall, a Beacon resident who canvassed for Sanders in Massachusetts and is holding a two-day phone bank for him in Newburgh this weekend, said the coalescing of support for Biden after his South Carolina primary romp appeared to have a big impact on Tuesday. But Hall said the outcome had only spurred him to make more calls and knock on more doors for Sanders.
“Overall, we were hoping for a bigger win, but this kind of reinvigorated me,” he said.
Kelleigh McKenzie, a prospective Sanders delegate from Rosendale, was confident Sanders can still win the nomination and will gain ground when he contrasts his record with Biden's in coming debates. She cited Biden's votes for the Iraq war and North American Free Trade Agreement - and Sanders' opposition - as two key differences.
She cast the race as establishment versus anti-establishment, and argued that Democrats made the wrong bet on establishment in 2016.
DeStefano, the Biden supporter, sees it differently.
“The revolution isn't there,” he said. “Bernie is a good man, but I think his politics are too extreme for New York and for the country.”