It was a mixed bag for incumbents in local primaries last night: the Albany County Executive easily turned away his challenger. The sitting mayor of Kingston is effectively out of the race entirely.
The Democratic primary for Albany County Executive had been worrisome for some party leaders, who feared a schism. Former Albany School Board member Dan Egan had emerged to challenge sitting County Exec Dan McCoy. Heated campaigning, heavy mailing and a little old-school mudslinging made for an interesting race. In the end, McCoy triumphed with 59 percent of the vote. "Primaries are good when you're talking about the issues and being positive and moving forward. In this case, it wasn't that. It divides the party, a small fraction of it, but, we have to come together the day after election and continue to work for the people."
Albany-area state Assemblywoman Pat Fahy stayed neutral because she served on the city school board with Egan. "There's always schisms here and there, some are issue-based and some are personality-based."
McCoy's win was heralded by many, including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, former Assemblyman Mike McNulty and former Mayor Jerry Jennings. "I'm ecstatic tonight to see Danny win again..."
McCoy took victory in stride, relieved that what had become a contentious campaign was over. "You should stay on message. The mudslinging doesn't work. You know what? I'm just glad that it shows that I got 65 percent of the vote, especially on a Thursday election. I don't think there's been a Thursday election in this county probably in the last 20 years!"
The people didn't exactly show up in droves to vote: unofficial numbers from the Board of Elections indicate a turnout of 20 percent. Also in Albany, Andrew Joyce defeated Leonard Ricchiuti in the race to succeed county legislator Justin Corcoran in the ninth district, a victory Joyce attributes to dedicated voters, who showed up despite the rain and traditional opening week of school chaos. "Regardless if it's held on a Saturday or a Sunday or a Monday or a Tuesday, they'll get out and vote. But it's our job as committee people and eventually elected officials, to make sure people know when they have that opportunity to have a voice in the process."
Albany County Legislature Chair Shawn Morse defeated Dianne Nolin in the Democratic primary for Cohoes mayor. Morse will succeed his uncle in that position.
Two sitting mayors will now be sitting on the sidelines in November: Incumbent Newburgh Mayor Judy Kennedy lost a three-way Democratic primary to Jonathan Jacobson.
Incumbent Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo lost the Democratic primary to "upstart candidate" Steve Noble, 880 to 668. Noble serves as the city's environmental program operations specialist. He chalks his victory up to his grassroots style of leadership and creative approach to campaigning. "We were able to just take our time and focus on meeting with voters, going Democrat by Democrat and getting our message out there on all types of media, whether it was social media or traditional media, and for us it was just a lot of in-person contact with voters. Talking about issues, and having them meet me and see what I was all about, and see how genuinely I cared for the city."
Noble had won the party nomination in late May, forcing incumbent Mayor Gallo to mount a primary challenge. He lost the Independence and Conservative lines and is now officially out of the race for re-election. "I think that the voters in Kingston last night decided that they wanted to give me an opportunity to try it my way."
Noble is confident he can attract members of both parties in November when he faces off against Republican Ron Polacco — which may be a moot point since the city usually votes Democrat two-to-one for local elections, making Noble the frontrunner.
In Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County Legislature Chair Rob Rolison won the GOP mayoral primary, with the Democratic side too close to call. And Patrick Russo won the Republican primary for Rensselaer County sheriff over Scott Ryan by a nearly 2-1 margin.