Voters Have Spoken In East Greenbush, Colonie
Election Night came with a few surprises, some close calls and a rally by voters in one town who turned the night on its head.
Jack Conway is town supervisor-elect in East Greenbush. Conway, affiliated with East Greenbush First, has bucked the traditional political parties, taking 47 percent the vote, besting another challenger, Democrat David Van Wormer, who got 29 percent, and incumbent Republican Supervisor Keith Langley, who got 24 percent. It took the siting of a Capital Region casino to spur the townsfolk into ballot-box action.
The grassroots upset was reminiscent of Jack McEneny mounting a write-in campaign that landed him a spot on the Albany County legislature in 1991.
In East Greenbush, town board members had voted unanimously to support a planned Capital View Casino & Resort to be built on Thompson Hill. Residents were fiercely opposed, and quickly organized in opposition to any gaming in town. And they never forgot. "And it wasn't just people who opposed the casino. Everyone in town saw a process that didn't work. We weren't consulted. Our election officials made backroom deals, and it proved unacceptable, and last night they paid the price."
Conway says the takeaway from his victory is not to let opportunistic development like a casino overtake you. "I think it's a lesson we learned. And it won't be forgotten for a long time. We ran on a campaign, on a platform of inclusion of open government. The people of East Greenbush took their town back."
Meantime, Democratic Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan won her fifth term over Republican Christine Benedict, who had accused Mahan of colluding with developers. "That's what I call political nonsense." Mahan says there's nothing clandestine or underhanded about the town's relationship with developers. "I think she was trying to make an issue out of something that wasn't true. From day one I have treated the residents of Colonie with respect, and I have their best interests at heart and I pride myself on doing things the right way. I came in here with the intention of doing the right thing all the way through, and I have done that."
Mahan beat Benedict with 10,240 to 8,467 votes. It was also a huge night for Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, who left opponents in the dust, commanding about 70 percent of the vote in his bid for a second term.
Albany County voters said no to proposed charter revisions, while the plan to build a new $200 million Albany high school was too close to call and will be determined by absentee ballots.
Charter revisions also were up for vote in Troy, where the response was positive, paving the way for slimming down the city council by eliminating two of three at-large seats and setting the term for City Council President to four years.