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Capital Region News

Albany Primary Day: Polls Close At 9

Albany City Hall at twilight, January 25, 2016
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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Eyes on the prize: Albany City Hall at twilight, January 25, 2016

In just a few hours, months of campaigning in Albany will be over. Here's a look back at the mayoral race on this primary day.

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The din of protests at two annual "State of the City" addresses echoed at the outset of 2017. There were questions, rumblings and rumors as to whether first-term Democratic Mayor Kathy Sheehan, saddled with perennial budget problems, would commit to a re-election bid. 

Those who strained to hear at the late January gathering heard Sheehan touting her administration’s successes. But that didn’t stop the electoral calendar.

Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin was the first challenger to step forward, announcing her run in January

"I wanna win the Democratic line. And as such, I'm going to have enough votes to win period. Because my message is not just for Democrats. Even though we know 90 percent of the people that vote in the city of Albany are Democrats, once the general election comes, you got your independents, you got your Republicans, you got Working Families, you got... I wanna be the mayor of those people too. My message will be a message for everybody."

Common Councilor Frank Commisso Jr., who announced in March, touted his seven-year involvement with city politics and his employment with Albany County government as plusses for improving the city's fiscal health. He told WAMC that starts with the municipal budget.    "First you're going to need a city budget that people know is a budget that is an honest document, without gimmicks, and is a budget that reflects our values in the city of Albany. In addition to that, we're going to need a growing economy going forward.  So over the next three, five, seven years we need an economy that can grow, and that's not happening right now either when you look at taxable property."

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When Sheehan finally announced her re-election bid in April, it came days after Albany was awarded $12.5 million in state aid to plug a budget shortfall. For the first time the money was NOT a spin-up against future funds, a point Sheehan's campaign and her supporters swung like a baseball bat -

Corey Ellis "Getting that $12.5 million in aid is unprecedented!"

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy "And I have to tell ya, I'm impressed too, the fact that she got $12.5 million out of state government."

Congressman Paul Tonko "The $12.5 million is now coming forward to the Capital City. That's academic leadership!"

McLaughlin and some other Democrats believed that Sheehan had been waiting to get the state money before announcing a second-term run.

Once Sheehan was in, the race was in full swing, Albany politics in motion. The candidates stuck with their issues, sat for hours of media interviews and phone calls, went door-to-door, distributed their lawn signs, carved out presences on social media - had their mettle tested in public forums and political polling. All there is left to do now is watch as results come in.

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