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Saratoga Springs residents get to the polls ahead of the election

Early voting location at the Saratoga Springs Recreational Center
Aaron Shellow-Lavine
Early voting location at the Saratoga Springs Recreational Center

Polls are open until 9 p.m. in Saratoga Springs, but many residents voted early to conclude a bruising election season.

The 2023 election cycle in Saratoga Springs has brought years of political tensions to the surface. The races for both mayor and public safety commissioner have seen old allies turn to rivals and political opponents crossing party lines for endorsements.

Brian Hisong is a retired music teacher and has owned a house in Saratoga for more than 25 years. This is one of the few times he’s gotten out to vote in the Spa City, and said it was because of the turmoil in the city council.

“There just seems to be such a cacophony down in city hall, and I think that, you know, we really need to, you know, right this ship a little bit," said Hisong.

Hisong hoped his vote for John Safford for mayor would do the trick. Safford, a Republican, is running on a promise to return civility to city council meetings.

Safford and One Saratoga-backed mayoral candidate Chris Mathiesen, a former public safety commissioner, fault Democratic Mayor Ron Kim for what they label ineffective leadership.

Michele Feinstein supported the One Saratoga line, saying the bipartisan coalition of candidates is best suited to carry the city forward.

“It’s city above party, and I like it," explained Feinstein. "So, we had Republicans on there and Democrats, and it’s pretty neat. We’re looking for the best person and we think we’ve got the best people.”

Also running on the One Saratoga line are Michele Madigan and Matthew Veitch for city supervisor, and Tim Coll for Public Safety Commissioner. Democrat Gordon Boyd is the third candidate for the two supervisor slots.

Speaking to WAMC on Saturday, Nora Brennan said she voted for Kristen Dart. The independent candidate is running on her own Community First line and was endorsed by four members of the all-Democrat city council for public safety commissioner.

“We have a big issue with systemic racism in Saratoga Springs and Kristen stepped forward and was really fantastic in being willing to step up and step out," said Brennan. "And, you know, be willing to take on the work of being an elected official, and hopefully changing some of the narrative that we’ve been dealing with in the city.”

Brennan says she and many other voters are disappointed in first-term Democratic Commissioner of Public Safety Jim Montagnino.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the racist mailer that came out, which was abhorrent, on top of a lot of the things that he’s done that makes me think that he either has just – he’s decided to go extremely negative in a way that even further—I wasn’t going to vote for him but I also was further really truly disappointed that what people thought he was going to do for us as a Democrat in this city when he first was elected, he’s just completely moved all the way away from that. But this wasn’t an opposition vote, this was an enthusiastic vote for Kristen.”

Montagnino denies the mailer is racist but it cost him the Democratic Party endorsement hours before the election.

In-person polls are open until 9 p.m.

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