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Troy Mayor Patrick Madden Narrowly Wins Second Term After Wild Race

After a wild campaign, Troy Mayor Patrick Madden has been elected to a second four-year term.

Madden, a Democrat, took about 44 percent of the vote, besting former City Council President Rodney Wiltshire’s third-party bid. After exiting the race in October only to jump back in a week before the election, Republican Tom Reale finished a distant third.    "I earned 3,627 votes. Tom Reale 1,455, and Rodney Wiltshire 3,122," said Madden.

Wiltshire had the backing of about 38 percent of voters after losing June’s Democratic primary to Madden.  "We fought a very hard race, we ran a very hard race, and we had a lot of support and people came out and they let their voices be heard. I think that if the race was clearly between myself and Mayor Madden, I think the results would have been a lot different."

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Rodney Wiltshire checks his cell phone as he chats with a supporter at Troy Firefighters Union Hall, Lansingburgh.

Wiltshire told WAMC he would not concede the race until absentee ballots are counted.   "The race is close and we've got absentee ballots out there. I'll wait until everything's counted. I'm not going to give anybody the victory tonight. "

But a Wiltshire victory does not appear to be in the cards. The Rensselaer County Board of Elections says it has received 472 absentee ballots. If every one of those votes was cast for Wiltshire, he would still fall short of overtaking Madden, who quippd  "He ran on two minor party lines, but he had very significant support from the Republican Party, that ditched their own candidate. So he essentially was running with a major party backing. This is my last term as mayor. In the city of Troy you can only serve two terms, so these will be my last four years."

The election ended weeks of campaign controversy: Reale said he'd been pressured to pull out by Rensselaer County GOP bosses. But his name remained on the ballot, an opening that may well have changed his mind about running. He says the process didn't turn out as he expected...  "...in terms of the backroom politics, the nastiness that cropped up. I honestly just wanted to make sure that the people of the city had an honest choice at the ballot box and if I accomplished nothing else, then I hope that's something that was done."

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Mayor Madden's wife gives him a hug after his victory speech.

Again, Mayor Madden:   "Today the campaign ends, and tomorrow we continue as we have over the past four years to govern for all of the people, not  just those who voted for us or against us, not just those who agree with us, but all the people. I and my staff are relentlessly optimistic about the future of this great city. We are committed to mining its potential and leaving our children and their children a strong foundation on which to build their lives, and I hope everyone here and everyone out there will join us. We are, we are Troy, New York, and we are in this together. Thank you and good night.” [Applause fades]

Although Democrats retained control of the city council, Republican Carmella Mantello secured another term as council president, garnering 4,324 votes over Democrat David Bissember's 3,724.  Bissember has no regrets.    "This campaign was about pushing for a more inclusive, welcoming city, a Troy that works for everyone. Our work is far from done. I will continue to advocate on behalf of my neighbors and the people of this community, regardless of whether or not I sit on the council. For now, it's time to move forward and continue to work together.

Mantello issued a statement thanking voters and noting her first order of business will be to finalize work on the proposed 2020 Troy City budget. Under the revised city charter, Mantello will serve four years instead of two.

Update: Since this article was orginally published, Rodney Wiltshire has conceded the race. 

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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