On election night in Cohoes, first-term Democratic Mayor Shawn Morse was trailing the four-way election to retired New York State Police troop commander Major Bill Keeler late Tuesday.
"I said from the beginning of this race that this would be the most consequential election in Cohoes since the 1960s," Keeler said. "I'm proud and I'm grateful that the voters sent a clear message about who we are as a city. Since I announced in January, my message has been consistent. I'm in this to restore honor, and integrity, and professionalism to city hall."
Morse is facing a federal corruption trial next month but the embattled city native was hoping to win the key primary anyway. Running third was Cohoes Common Councilor Steve Napier, who said he was still deciding what to do in November’s general election. Former city treasurer Peter Frangie was running fourth.
Unofficial totals had Keeler leading Morse 972-869. Mayor Morse was not ready to concede Tuesday night.
"There's another day to live tomorrow if and I'll move on with my life if at the end of the day the absentee ballots are counted and I lose," Morse said. "It's a small margin. So that means there's a whole bunch of people in this city that didn't buy into the Times Union, who's home gloating right now, because they spent thousands of dollars of manhours and 60 stories about Shawn Morse being the worst guy in the world. Sometimes you need a break in life."
Randy Koniowka, who represents Cohoes' sixth ward on the Common Council, flirted with a mayoral run of his own after a raft of stories alleging domestic abuse against Morse. Tuesday, Koniowka said Keeler's apparent victory was "just unbelievable."
"The people of Cohoes spoke with their hearts, the spoke with their consciences, and they voted in one of the best men I've ever known and one of the best mayors Cohoes will ever see," he added.