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Madden Takes Troy Mayoral Race

Patrick Madden
Jessica Bloustein Marshall/WAMC
Troy Mayor-Elect Patrick Madden

Patrick Madden emerged victorious in a race full of twists and turns. Standing on a chair Tuesday night, he spoke to a packed bar of supporters downtown.

“The goal here wasn’t just to win," Patrick said to the crowd. "It was to get to the starting line. And the starting line starts tomorrow. We start governing tomorrow.”

Madden says he’s feeling both ecstatic and scared about taking the helm of the Collar City.

“I didn’t prevail over my opponents, as much as I earned the right to be held accountable by the voters of Troy,” Madden confessed. “And that’s a tall task.”

Madden was separated by about 600 votes from second-place finisher, Republican City Councilor Jim Gordon. Gordon went home shortly after conceding defeat, but thanked supporters on his Facebook page, writing “We came up a bit short but we ran it clean and issue based." (sic) He did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

Working Families Party candidate Rodney Wiltshire came in a distant third, earning about 25 percent of the total vote. Madden only narrowly defeated the outgoing City Council president in the Democratic primary in September – the two were separated by a mere 45 votes. Wiltshire says he was disappointed in the outcome on Election Night, but is not defeated.

“I’m OK with the results,“ Wiltshire said. “I’m going to work hard with the council over the next couple of weeks to get our budget straight and get our city in the best position that it can be in.”

Wiltshire did earn more votes on his Working Families line than Gordon got on his single Republican line. Wiltshire calls that a technical win for his camp.

“It shows that a third party line has the ability to come out ahead,” Wiltshire said.

The fourth candidate, Revolutionary Party candidate Jack Cox, ended up with just below 2 percent of the vote.

The race to replace outgoing Democratic Mayor Lou Rosamilia was not a smooth one, especially in the final two weeks. Gordon’s camp was dogged by the release to the media of a 911 from his wife reporting a domestic dispute. Both Gordon and Wiltshire were critical of a series of robo-calls that used part of the recording, accusing the Democratic camp of playing dirty—allegations Madden denies.

Adding to the unusual nature of this race, until recently, Madden had never been a registered Democrat. He also received an endorsement from a Republican, Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino, who also happens to be his sister – and the employer of Gordon, who is the county’s Stop-DWI Coordinator.

And to throw another awkward log on the fire, the race spawned two police investigations—one involving the arrest of Democrat Ernest Everett after the primary for allegedly forging nominating petitions, and one looking into who may have leaked Gordon’s wife’s 911 call to the media.

County Democratic Chair Tom Wade says they picked a winner.

“I went outside the box, the normal realm of Democratic activists to find somebody who would be appealing in Troy,” Wade said. “I’m quite familiar with the demographics in Troy and what works, and he fit all the demographics.”

While Madden’s victory is a win for Wade, he says he was disappointed with the low voter turnout. There were about 7,400 votes before absentee ballots were counted, versus 9,500 in the last mayoral election four years ago.

“We come in at less than 50 percent turnout every year in Troy,” Wade admits. “It’s pathetic.”

While the Democrats were celebrating the mayoral triumph, Troy voters elected a Republican City Council with Carmella Mantello at the helm. Madden says he’s confident he can get things done based on experience working with previous mayors and city councils as part of his work with the Troy Rehabilitation & Improvement Program.

“I’ve got 30 years of working with people across the aisle, of every persuasion. I can’t imagine why that would change now,” Madden said.

Among Madden’s first priorities is getting the city’s troubled finances back on track. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli endorsed his campaign, and Madden says he’s looking forward to drawing on that support to help.

“Troy means so much to me,” Madden said. “My family is here, my roots are here. Troy has been so good to me, I feel an obligation to pay that back and to do what I can to make the next generation even more successful and comfortable in Troy.”

Other issues the new mayor and city council will have to tackle include infrastructure, crime, a spate of arson, gun violence, and a proposed 9.3 percent tax hike.

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