King Keeps Mayor's Office, Loses Party

Dec 6, 2017

After some Election Day confusion, Gloversville will keep its incumbent mayor for another four years after all. But the mayor is not promising a better relationship with the local Republican Party, which he has left.

On Election Night it appeared that Bill Rowback Jr. would become the next mayor of Gloversville after defeating incumbent Dayton King at the ballot box. It appeared to be a repeat of the result of the GOP primary two months earlier.

But it wasn’t until two weeks later, after a recount, that King came out ahead — by only 28 votes in the city of about 15,000.

King had thought that he and his administrative staff were out of a job and had already started the transition.

Not so fast.

“Everybody is relieved. We’ve been back to work since the 20th, since we knew that I would stay in office, and we’re just moving forward our city,” said King.

When it appeared Rowback would take the position, the two actually met to discuss city government and next steps, says King.

King’s victory is also complicated politically. A registered Republican, King was narrowly defeated in the September primary. Rowback was endorsed by the Fulton County and Gloversville Republican committees.

King remained on the ballot on minor party lines and ultimately won.

But now, King says his GOP days are over.

“I can tell you my relationship with the Republican Committee in Gloversville and Fulton County has never been great and the reason for that is I didn’t do what they wanted me to do,” said King.

This is not the first time King has won an election after losing a primary. The same thing happened in his first run for mayor eight years ago.

Susan McNeil, chair of the Fulton County Republican Committee, said the party has had a strained relationship with King.

She brought up disagreements between King and the party from back when King was appointed to the city body.

“The thing was he didn’t like that he wasn’t in charge. He thought being the mayor that he would be in charge, but no, that’s not how it works, we have to go by protocol,” said McNeil.

McNeil said she would continue to support Republican members of the city council.

“The Republicans will still stand firm on what they believe makes the city better, but if we can work together as a team that’s  always what’s best for the city,” said McNeil.

King does not think a lack of party affiliation in city government will affect services.

“Locally, nobody cares if a firefighter or police officer or the man or woman plowing your streets is a Democrat or Republican, right?”

As for what’s in Rowback’s future, he tells WAMC he will remain active in city politics and would consider another run in the future as a Republican.

“I brought a lot of awareness to a lot of the city problems that we’ve had in our city and I feel that after the general election there are a lot of residents that are supportive of me and want me to become the mayor of the City of Gloversville.”