Three-Way Democratic Primary Race For Albany Common Council President

Sep 11, 2017

With current Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin running for mayor in tomorrow’s pivotal primary, three Democrats are vying to replace her.

It is McLaughlin’s run for mayor that has left the council president seat open. Former councilman and mayoral candidate Corey Ellis, Albany County Legislator Chris Higgins and 5th Ward Councilman Mark Robinson will face off for the Democratic line on the ballot.

Ellis says he has a vision for Albany. "And I believe I can bring that voice for the people and also bring that leadership to the city council and also working with other city agencies."

Ellis gave a spirited speech at Mayor Kathy Sheehan's re-election announcement and has the mayor's backing, which places him in the same box with other powerful local Democrats, among them County Executive Dan McCoy.  "Here's a guy that's represented the Common Council for a while, did two terms there, ran for mayor, and now he's running for president of Common Council and he has some great ideas."

The presidency is a citywide position.

County Legislator Higgins has served the 5th district since 2008. He says he's happy the campaign is winding down and is optimistic going into Tuesday's primary. "I think over the last several months we've laid out a bold agenda on policy issues and ideas that I've set forth to address issues facing the city of Albany."

Higginns, like his opponents, has knocked on many doors, but thinks hell make a better leader, citing his "more fundamental knowledge of government" and political experience stemming from 10 years as a legislator.

5th Ward Councilman Mark Robinson believes his campaign has registered with voters. "I'm the best candidate to fill the seat. I am definitely an independent voice and will be a voice for the people of throughout the City of Albany."

"I wish I'd had the opportunity to have a conversation with each one of them about what it means to be president of the Common Council, " said Mayoral candidate and current Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin, who gives candidates this advice: be team players in trying to move the city forward... "Now the people that are runnin'? Three completely different personalities. And as mayor, I would hope to be able to temper that working relationship with them just based on who they are as individuals."

Mark Robinson will also be on the November ballot on the Conservative line.

If defeated in the primary, McLaughlin's candidacy comes to a halt. There is no indication she will support incumbent Mayor Kathy Sheehan or Frank Commisso Jr., who will run for mayor on the Independence Party line. It’s unclear if he would campaign beyond the Democratic primary if he doesn’t win.

Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar will not appear on the primary ballot, as no challenger has come forward.