Corey Ellis’s Central Avenue headquarters were relatively quiet Tuesday night as election returns came in. Volunteers worked diligently, despite polls predicting an inevitable loss. They called polls all over the city, practically whispering, as President Obama’s address played on a television in the background.
There was a palpable disappointment in the air when Ellis’s opponent, City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan, declared victory from across town. But as soon as Ellis arrived at his HQ after calling Sheehan to concede, the mood lightened.
"Thank you all for being here," Ellis told supporters. "I did call my opponent and congratulated Ms. Sheehan on her successful victory tonight. But there’s one thing that I did tell Ms. Sheehan tonight that we will continue to work together to make sure we do create that one city, one Albany."
This was the second unsuccessful bid for the former Arbor Hill common council member and 11th Ward Democratic Leader, who only garnered 29 percent of the vote. Ellis came closer to unseating long-time Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings in 2009 when he got 44 percent of the vote. Despite the landslide this time around, Ellis pledged his unwavering support for Sheehan come November.
"I have confidence in her ability to do the job, and I’m there any way shape or form to support that," Ellis said. It’s not just talk about becoming one city one Albany, it’s about action, and I have to lead by example. And supporting Ms. Sheehan, and making sure she wins in November, is what I should do."
Sheehan, speaking to reporters after her victory speech at the Albany Pump Station, says she already has plans for a diverse administration, should she win in November.
"We have a general election ahead of us," Sheehan said. "Bbut I’m committed to having a leadership team that looks like our city, that represents our city.
Whether that means Ellis, who plans to remain active in city affairs, may play a role in that team is not certain. But if offered the chance, he says he would help in any way he can.
"However Ms. Sheehan would think I could be useful and help to make sure our city comes together as one city, I’m willing to step up to the plate and do that," he said.
Ellis is not ruling out another potential run for mayor either.
"Who knows? Who knows what my future holds. If the citizens feel like they’d like me to run, you know I’d look at it, but right now I don’t know."
Meanwhile, Ellis has no regrets about his campaign this time around.
"I really believe in democracy, I really believe that people just need a choice to vote for someone. With that belief, with the people that we cultivated, with the new people we brought in to this democratic process, you build off of that. You can always build off of that."
The street outside Ellis headquarters was quiet after the concession, but the small storefront stayed lit up well afterward, as dozens of his supporters remained to congratulate their candidate on a job well done despite the loss.