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Candidates Launch Effort To Establish New Ballot Line In Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner and mayoral hopeful Robin Dalton speaks with supporters Wednesday
Lucas Willard
Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner and mayoral hopeful Robin Dalton speaks with supporters Wednesday

An effort to establish a new non-partisan ballot line in Saratoga Springs city politics launched Wednesday.

Outside the Canfield Casino in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton announced the newest shakeup in city politics – the push to create a new ballot line.

“I’m here today to announce the formation of a new non-partisan ballot line called Saratoga Strong.”

Dalton, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, is also running for mayor in a now three-way race to replace outgoing Democrat Meg Kelly. Ron Kim, a former Commissioner of Public Safety, is running as a Democrat. Downtown Business Owner Heidi Owen West has been endorsed by city Republicans.

Dalton hopes her new Saratoga Strong platform will draw in voters who are put off by polarized national politics.

“Our country has never been more politically divided and Saratoga Springs is not immune to the national political climate. The two-party system has never had people more polarized and outrage politics has reached new heights.”

Along with Dalton, Adam Israel – also a former Republican – is joining the effort with his bid for Commissioner of Finance. This is his first campaign for city office. The city's Democratic Commissioner of Finance, Michele Madigan, is not seeking another term.

“Saratoga needs an option outside of the impassioned ideologues that have taken over national politics, an option that recognizes the voice of the moderates from both sides of the parties that are being shouted down by the extremes,” said Israel.

The new effort is similar to the cross-party One Saratoga platform that helped Dalton get elected in 2019. As a Republican, Dalton ran alongside Democrats Kelly and Madigan.

Madigan was supported by a group of breakaway city Democrats after she narrowly lost the primary to challenger Patty Morrison, before going on to win re-election. Charles Brown, a former city Democratic Committee chair and part of the group that rallied behind Madigan in 2019, is now serving as campaign director for Israel on the Saratoga Strong ballot line.

“This is not a party, this is a non-party.”

Brown hopes the post-partisan line will focus the dialogue between all candidates on city issues.

“The city has to be first and foremost, because we all live here. We need a city that functions.”

With political parties backing out ahead of last month’s village elections in nearby Ballston Spa, Dalton sees value in non-partisan local elections moving forward.

“I certainly see it as something worth working towards,” said Dalton.

Dalton said the Saratoga Strong effort does not yet have a platform on the issues, and said her number one goal at the moment is getting the ballot line established. She added that she anticipates more candidates will join the non-partisan line.

Petition signatures are due by May 25th. At least 305 signatures are required to establish the ballot line.

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