Cohoes Mayor Morse Awaiting Absentee Ballots In Primary

Jun 26, 2019

Despite being more than 100 votes down in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse says he is not conceding.

Morse, who is in the final year of his first-four year term, trails retired State Police troop commander Bill Keeler by 103 votes, according to results from the Albany County Board of Elections.

Click here for more on Tuesday's race and what Keeler had to say about the results.

Speaking outside the city’s American Legion, where his supporters gathered to count votes, Morse said he wasn’t conceding.

“Absentee ballots are still out there, there’s probably over 300 of them and we’ll see what happens,” said Morse.

Much of the campaign, also featuring former city treasurer Peter Frangie and common councilor Steve Napier, has focused on Morse.

A longtime city firefighter and former Albany County legislator, Morse in February pleaded not guilty to federal wire fraud and misuse of political funds to pay for home repairs and vacations. His trial is set to start in July. Morse’s former campaign treasurer has already pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Also, Morse has faced a number of domestic abuse allegations involving his family and former girlfriends, although he has not been brought up on charges related to those alleged incidents. Following the publication of those claims, which Morse has denied, several elected officials including Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo called for Morse’s resignation.

“Governor’s calling you to resign, every elected official calling you to resign, and right now I can stand here and tell them you know what I didn’t resign and you don’t mean nothing to me, what means everything to me is my kids,” Morse said. “And hey, I’m OK. There is another day to live tomorrow. And I’ll move on with my life if at the end of the day the absentee ballots are counted and I lose. It’s a small margin.”

Morse said Tuesday night that he didn’t plan on calling Keeler to congratulate him, saying he hasn’t lost yet.

“I’ll call him if he wins,” the mayor said. “He ran a dirty campaign, he said a lot of bad things about my family and integrity is supposed to be something that you show, not something that you talk about. I’m happy for Bill if he wins. I don’t think he was the best candidate. I think there was better candidates than him that didn’t win.”

Keeler was asked about Morse’s comments at his victory party Tuesday.

“I never took a shot at his family and I never spoke anything but the truth about Shawn Morse,” said Keeler.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday night, Morse continued to criticize the Times Union’s coverage of him, including the domestic violence allegations. Morse’s campaign manager Tom Scarff echoed those sentiments about the newspaper, which endorsed Napier.

“Did you ever see anything in the newspaper where it said ‘Oh by the way, Shawn was granted full custody of his daughter,” Scarff said Tuesday night. “Or by the way, the allegations were not founded on any type of fact. Or by the way, three police agencies closed the investigation on it.’ You never saw that.”

“I didn’t lose because there was better candidates,” Morse said. “I lost because my life got turned upside down, sadly, and these are the repercussions when you’re an elected official in the light and everybody is looking at you. And instead of trying to understand what was really going on, people take advantage of that for political reasons. I’m not mad at them, I’m OK. I got peace in my life. To tell you the truth, if I told you I was relieved, I’m telling you I’m relieved, because I’m tired, I’ve fought the good fight and never quit and if you can’t be proud of that, what can you be proud of.”

Levulis: "So sounds like there mayor that you are saying that you lost?"

“No, no I’m saying that I’m 88 votes down,” Morse responded. “I’m saying Muhammad Ali was almost 15 rounds down and he knocked somebody out and won. So we’re still in the fight. We’re still in the game. At the end of the day, I’ve got six months left to continue the legacy of what we’ve built. And I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Morse speaking there as results were still coming in Tuesday night. Scarff, from Morse’s campaign, said he’s not overly optimistic about making up the roughly 100-vote deficit with about 300 absentee ballots.

“The race is not over yet and it won’t be over until next week after every vote has been counted,” Scarff said.