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Kim declares victory in Saratoga Springs mayoral race

 Ron Kim declares victory in the race for mayor of Saratoga Springs
Lucas Willard
Ron Kim declares victory in the race for mayor of Saratoga Springs

Democrats were able to maintain their 4 to 1 majority on the Saratoga Springs city council in Tuesday’s election, including holding the mayor’s office.

“We won!”

Former Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim will be returning to city hall in January after defeating Republican-endorsed Heidi Owen West and Robin Dalton, the current Public Safety Commissioner who ran as an independent candidate.

According to unofficial results, of 8,488 ballots cast, Kim received more than 47 percent of the vote to West’s 44 percent. Dalton received more than 6 percent, while a fourth candidate, Maxwell Rosenbaum, received less than 1 percent. Rosenbaum, appearing on the Working Families Party line, was part of a group of conservative-leaning candidates to occupy the traditionally progressive WFP line.

At Democratic headquarters, Kim celebrated a mayoral victory that eluded him in 2009.

“Saratoga won because facts matter, truth matters, and democracy matters!”

Kim campaigned on four goals: follow through with the construction of a fire/EMS station on the city’s east side, prepare for the next economic upheaval, upgrade infrastructure and protect the city’s “greenbelt,” and reimagine the city’s police force.

Kim was outspoken as the city council considered a 50-point set of recommendations from an appointed Police Reform Task Force. The former Public Safety Commissioner said voters also supported the issue.

“Going door to door, I heard a lot about the police reform that we needed to do. I also heard about the Darryl Mount death and how we needed to investigate that,” said Kim.

Mount was a biracial man who died months after an August 2013 police foot chase. An investigation into potential police misconduct was never completed as his family sues the city. His name, often chanted at Black Lives Matter protests, has become a rallying cry for police reform in the Spa City.

Along with Kim, three other Democrats were also elected to the council. Dillon Moran won against Republican Samantha Guerra and independent Angela Rella for Commissioner of Accounts.

Commissioner of Finance candidate Minita Sanghvi bested Republican Joanne Kiernan, independent Adam Israel, and Sierra Hunt, who appeared on the Working Families Party line.

Jim Montagnino is poised to become the next Public Safety Commissioner, defeating Republican Tracey Labelle and WFP candidate David Labate.

Republican Skip Scirocco will continue to serve as Public Works Commissioner, defeating Dominque Yermoloaev, who appeared on the Democratic line and her own Functional Party line. Donald Reeder appeared on the WFP line.

Incumbent county supervisors Matthew Veitch, a Republican, and Tara Gaston, a Democrat, will also serve another two years, coming out on top in the six-way race that also included Republican John Safford and Democrat Shaun Wiggins, as well as two candidates on the WFP line, Bruce Altimar and Gabriel O’Brien.

Speaking of the Democratic candidates who won on Tuesday, Kim said they’ve worked together for the last six months.

“We’ve spent some time talking about what we believe in, and our platforms are very similar and I think that will bode well for Saratogians, because we’ll be able to get some stuff done.”

Congratulating Kim at campaign headquarters, mayoral candidate Dalton said she was “extremely happy” to see the Democratic victories.

“My goal leaving the Republican Party was to prevent future Republican victories until the party sorts itself out, and I think we achieved that goal tonight,” said Dalton.

Dalton added she looks forward to being a “unifying voice” and continuing to provide independent options for Saratoga.

West declined to speak with WAMC after arriving to concede. She posted a thank you note to supporters on Facebook Wednesday morning that reads in part:

“Although the outcome isn’t what we had hoped, you might be surprised to know that I feel even closer to my community and bolstered by the support I received throughout the campaign. The relationships created along the way mean more to me than any political office. I will continue to champion the small business community that means so much to me and makes our city special…”

West added that she was “already thinking of the next way I can serve my community,” after a vacation.

“I tip my hat to both of them to step into the ring. I think that they made a great effort. And I hope to work with them in the future on some of these projects, because we need a broad coalition to get some of these things done,” said Kim.

Democratic Mayor Meg Kelly declined to seek a third two-year term.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.