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Republicans have a big night in Colonie, Rensselaer County; Rensselaer mayoral race is deadlocked

 Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin proposing his 2022 budget plan on Oct. 14, 2021.
Rensselaer County
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin proposing his 2022 budget plan on Oct. 14, 2021.

Nationally and locally, Republicans scored some solid victories Tuesday night.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin has won a second term, handily defeating Democratic challenger Gwen Wright by about 63 to 34 percent. The former state Assemblyman attributes his victory to "a good solid effort."

"We worked really hard," McLaughlin said. "And I think key to this is we worked as a team, which was good. And you know, to anybody that puts her hat in the ring, I certainly applaud that. It's not easy to do. And so for my opponent, she did that. And anybody just want to put their name out there deserves credit."

Wright issued a statement wishing McLaughlin success, writing in part, "A loss is not always a loss. This campaign was an opportunity to learn and build infrastructure to support local candidates."

McLaughlin was satisfied with election results countywide.

"I think it was really important to me to is to make sure that that the ticket was in good shape," said McLaughlin. "And it seemed to be up and down. And we picked up a number of seats throughout the county at the town level, I think we have a pretty good chance, actually, of getting the majority of the Troy city council, but we have to wait and see how the absentees shake out. But it's very close in one of those races."

The race for mayor in the city of Rensselaer remains too close to call for the second straight election. Unofficial results put Republican Mayor Mike Stammel at 958 votes – just six votes ahead of Democrat Richard Mooney. With about 200 absentee ballots outstanding, Stammel says the final result likely won’t be decided until next week. Mooney said he remains confident he will win. Mooney lost to Stammel in a 2019 special election.

Meantime, Republican Peter Crummey has won the race for Colonie town supervisor, marking a political shift atop the Capital Region's largest suburb. Crummey received 57 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for Democrat Kelly Mateja, according to unofficial results. Crummey stepped down as town justice, a post he'd held for more than 20 years, to run for supervisor. He spoke with WAMC Tuesday night.

"I support strong public safety, which includes support for our police, volunteer fire, and our emergency medical services," said Crummey. "I also believe we have to ramp up fixing our roads. And the last thing that I want to focus on right away is lifting our parks maintaining our parks."

Mateja thanked supporters Tuesday night.

"I'm overwhelmed with appreciation for the amazing work of my team," Mateja said. "And I just hope the entire town will join me in wishing success for Mister Crummey."

Democratic Supervisor Paula Mahan decided not to seek an eighth two-year in the Albany County town of more than 80,000 people. She did not make an endorsement in the race to succeed her.

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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