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Challenger Morrison Bests Incumbent Madigan In Primary For Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner

Patty Morrison
Lucas Willard
Patty Morrison

One week after voters went to the polls, absentee ballots made it official today: a newcomer has won the Democratic primary for Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance.

A week after the June 25th primary, absentee ballots were counted at the Saratoga County Board of Elections in Ballston Spa.

The outcome would determine the race for the Democratic nomination between fourth-term Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan and challenger Patty Morrison. After all the votes were tallied, Morrison topped Madigan by just 32 votes of more than 1,500 cast.

After receiving word that she had won the primary, Morrison said she believed her message had resonated with the community.

“I stepped forward because I believe that while our city is doing OK, we can definitely be doing better. We have a lot of development that is going on in Saratoga Springs, which is great. I’m for smart growth. And I want to make sure our infrastructure aligns with our development,” said Morrison.

In Saratoga Springs’ commission-style form of government, each department head also serves on the five-member city council.

Morrison, who is a sitting member of the Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education, said she will resign from that post effective January 1st if she takes the Finance Commissioner position in November’s general election. It’s likely she will face Madigan again in the fall.

In a statement emailed to WAMC, Madigan thanked her supporters but said she was “saddened and disappointed” after losing the primary, which she attributed to low voter turnout. She called the primary “very difficult” and at times “ugly.”

Madigan said she hopes to serve another term, and this November will appear on the Independence and Working Families Party ballot lines. She added the election “is not about partisan politics or any other particular issue; it is about prudently managing our city’s finances through challenging times.”

Madigan mentioned her ongoing work to prepare the 2020 budget “by the end of the summer and get it adopted in November.”

The Saratoga Springs City Republican Committee did not select a GOP candidate to run for the Finance Commissioner position when it endorsed a slate of candidates for city positions in February.

Looking ahead, Morrison said she will continue to listen to voters.

“I ran on bringing the community into the conversation and I will stand with that. And that will be my focus,” said Morrison.

Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan's entire statement is posted below:

I am saddened and disappointed to have lost the Democratic primary for Commissioner of Finance, due to low voter turn-out.  I wish to thank my many friends and supporters for their hard work in the face of a very difficult and at times an ugly primary campaign.

I am still on the general ballot in November on the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines, and while I would very much like to continue to serve all city voters - of all political parties - for another term, at this time the budget needs of the city are my priority. 

I must present the 2020 budget by the end of the summer, and get it adopted in November. Additionally, the city has several multi-million dollar matters I must continue to plan for: repairing and reopening city hall, the Loughberry Dam upgrade mandates, Fire/EMS needs of the Eastern Plateau, finding a permanent solution to code-blue and our homeless issues, cybersecurity threats that plague cities daily - for starters.  I owe it to the taxpayers to focus on this city business. 

I hope to serve another term and would be grateful for the support of all city voters, regardless of political persuasion, come November 5th. This election is not about partisan politics or any particular issue; it is about prudently managing our city’s finances through challenging times.

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