Matt Damon (yes, that one) gets involved in Bedford town justice race

July 14, 2021

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

By David Propper

Good vote hunting in Bedford? 

Matt Damon (yes, that one) threw his support behind Bedford justice court candidate Clark Petschek in a video endorsement posted Tuesday afternoon. The “Good Will Hunting” star, from his backyard in Australia, called Petschek “one of the most exceptional people I’ve met in my life.”

Petschek, who is running on the Republican and Bedford United lines, is facing Democrat Jodi Kimmel this November to replace Judge Erik Jacobsen, whose term is up at the end of this year. 

Damon, known for his acting in the Jason Bourne series and “The Martian,” and Petschek have been friends since they attended Harvard. They were roommates their sophomore and junior year after they met freshman year, according to Petschek. 

Damon, during the nearly 90-second video posted on YouTube, detailed Petschek’s time in the United States special forces following the Bosnia War and said it made sense that Petschek would want to serve on the bench following his vast life experience.

“He’s a special guy and he’s going to do a great job and be a special judge,” said Damon, who typically throws his support behind Democrats at the national level. 

Petschek, in an email, said when he announced he was running for town justice, the Oscar award winner suggested a video endorsement. He acknowledged Damon’s endorsement is a “little unique in a local election.”

“But I want voters to understand who I am professionally and personally,” Petschek said. 

Kimmel, when reached for comment about the Damon video, said, “endorsements come in many different varieties and some are more difficult to get than others.”

She listed some of the people who are behind her campaign, including County Executive George Latimer, State Sen. Shelley Mayer and State Assemblyman Chris Burdick. 

“And for what it’s worth, my college roommate thinks I’d make for a great Town Justice,” Kimmel said in an email. 

Damon isn’t the first big name to wade into Westchester politics. In Yonkers, rapper Jadakiss, whose real name is Jason Terrance Phillips, encouraged voters to support Lakisha Collins-Bellamy in a Democratic primary for Yonkers city council president this spring. She easily topped two candidates, including incumbent Mike Khader.

Petschek has lived in Bedford for more than 40 years and is a member of the town’s zoning board of appeals. He’s practiced law for more than 20 years and also boasts the endorsement of former congresswoman Sue Kelly. 

Kimmel has lived in Bedford since 2008 and has practiced law for more than 20 years. She and her husband started a law practice in 2004. 

Either Kimmel or Petschek would replace Jacobsen, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge last August.