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Post-Primary: Albany Common Council In A State Of Flux


Last week's Albany Democratic primary appears to show a shifting political picture reflected in the Common Council races. The contest shook the local poltical landscape, with a majority of winning or leading candidates riding to victory aboard the wave of progressive support for mayoral candidate Kathy Sheehan — a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed by those in higher circles, like Sheehan ally Congressman Paul Tonko.

First ward council member Dom Calsolaro thinks the primary demonstrates a move away from the more ethnocentric "Democratic machine" toward younger candidates representing a myriad of cultural and social backgrounds, reflecting Albany's changing population.

It has often been said over the past month that the handwriting is on the wall for the last remannts of Albany's once invincible Democratic machine, whose ghost has been hovering above city elections for the last two decades.

But does the 2013 primary really signal the death of the machine, or is it more accurately a reflection of poor voter turnout?

Eleventh ward council member Anton Konev lost his primary to Sheehan-ally Judd Krasher, but Konev is confident he can win his seat in November. He's on the ballot on the Independence Party line.  A good chunk of Konev's voting block used to cast ballots at 400 Central Avenue, a high-rise building home to many elderly, disabled and people who don't have cars. If they want to vote, they have to travel.

And though the machine may be "dead," apparently there is still room for political shenanigans, at least in the 5th ward, chronicled by Times Union reporter Jordan Carleo-Evangelist.  And lest we forget – the general election in November will in effect be taking the pulse of the new political upheaval, if there is one, in Albany.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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