Rise and Shine: Nov. 6, 2019

Now that Election Day has come and gone, it’s time to tally up the results, CivMixers. Welcome to post-election Wednesday.

For an off-cycle, all-local year, there was plenty of drama. A number of incumbent mayors in and around the Capital Region were ousted by their opponents.

In the city of Amsterdam, Michael Cinquanti appeared to have defeated incumbent Mayor Michael Villa by an unofficial vote count of 1,657 to 1,243, enabling the Democrats to re-take control of City Hall.

In the city of Hudson, the incumbent, Rick Rector, officially lost to 1st Ward Alderman Kamal Johnson, who also had won a Democratic primary between the two back in June. Rector withdrew from the race in September, but his name remained on the ballot.

Another temporary incumbent, Democratic Rensselaer Mayor Rich Mooney, who assumed the office following the death of then-Mayor Daniel Dwyer last year, was defeated by Republican Michael Stammel, chair of the Rensselaer County Legislature.

Several other incumbents fared better, managing to hold off opponents and retain their seats. That included Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer.

Also successful last night: Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, who breezed to a victory over Libertarian challenger Robert Porter; and Republican Niskayuna Town Supervisor Yasmine Syed, who was re-elected to a second two-year term in office.

In the hotly contested Saratoga Springs finance commissioner race, incumbent Michele Madigan was leading over Democrat Patricia Morrison by about 200 votes, with more than half of all votes counted. Madigan sough re-election on the Independence, Working Families and SAM ballot lines.

In Cohoes, William Keeler was officially elected mayor – a position he has held since August following former Mayor Shawn Morse’s guilty plea to a federal felony fraud charge, (though Morse refused to resign).

Keller had defeated Morse in the June Democratic primary. Steve Napier was on the ballot yesterday but didn’t actively campaign and even endorsed Keller.

In what might be the biggest surprise outcome, 12-year Democratic incumbent Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan faced a tight race against challenger Republican George Scaringe in the contest for leadership of the region’s most populous town.
 As of yesterday, there were 1,120 absentee ballots sent out and 724 returned in the town.

With all districts reporting just after 11 p.m., Mahan had 10,269 votes to Scaringe’s 10,207 — a gap of just 62 votes.

It looks like Albany County has elected its first female County Court judge in its 336-year history after Democrat Andra Ackerman defeated Holly Trexler, who was running on the Working Families Party line.

In Schenectady, voters turned Councilman Vince Riggi out of office, flipping the body to full Democratic control for the first time in years.

Albany City Auditor Sue Rizzo will be the first new Albany County Comptroller in a generation, replacing retiring Comptroller Mike Conners. She sailed by Republican David Yule and city treasurer Darius Shahinfar, who ran on third-party lines after losing the Democratic primary, according to unofficial results.

The town of Argyle is no longer dry after voters there approved all four ballot measures allowing the sale of alcohol.

In other races across the state:

– Democrat Mark Poloncarz cemented his dominance of Western New York politics Tuesday with a convincing victory over Lynne M. Dixon, his Republican/Independence challenger for Erie County executive.

– Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2018, defeated Joseph Ruggiero, a Democrat from Wappingers Falls.

– Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon held off a challenge from Democrat Tony Malavenda, keeping the most powerful post in county government in Republican control. No Democrat has won the county executive’s election since the current form of county government was adopted in 1961.

– For the first time in nearly 30 years, Monroe County will have a Democratic county executive come January as Adam Bello bested Republican incumbent Cheryl Dinolfo. Bello eked out the victory with a slim 51 percent majority, according to unofficial vote totals.

– All five ballot initiatives in New York City were approved by voters, making the Big Apple the nation’s largest city to adopt ranked-choice voting – a major milestone for voting reform efforts.

Under the new system, voters will rank their choices from 1 to 5. Second and third-place votes will help determine the result if no candidate wins at least 50 percent of first-place votes.

Another ballot initiative gives the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board more power to investigate cops it suspects lied to the panel regarding alleged brutality or other misconduct.

– New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams won re-election with 73 percent of the vote, easily defeating his Republican challenger Joe Borelli, who got just 25 percent.

– In Queens, Borough President Melinda Katz, who won the June Democratic primary for district attorney by a razor-thin margin, handily defeated her Republican opponent Joe Murray to offically assume the office.

– In Nassau Coounty, Republican Don Clavin was beating incumbent Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen by about 1,500 votes, however Gillen did not concede and the head of the Nassau Democratic Committee, Jay Jacobs, (also the state Democratic Party chair), said absentee ballots had not yet been counted.

– Democrat Steve Bellone was reelected Suffolk County executive, beating Republican John M. Kennedy Jr. after a campaign that focused on county finances, water quality and proposals to attract and keep millennials in Suffolk.

– In Mount Vernon, Democrat Shawyn Patterson-Howard is poised to become the first African-American woman to be a mayor in the history of Westchester County.

She beat the acting mayor, Andre Wallace, who took over during a tumultuous summer following Richard Thomas’ guilty plea to misdemeanor charges of misusing campaign funds.

Elsewhere in the nation…

– Republicans are keeping their hold on the governorship in Mississippi, despite facing the best-funded Democrat to run for the position in more than a decade.

– Democrats won complete control of the Virginia government for the first time in a generation and claimed a narrow victory in the Kentucky governor’s race, as Republicans struggled in suburbs where President Trump is increasingly unpopular.

– Airbnb must grapple with the latest in a string of regulatory defeats after voters in Jersey City, N.J., approved sharp restrictions on short-term rentals there.

In non-election news…

It’s going to be partly cloudy today, with temperatures in the high 40s, according to The Weather Channel. It’s National Nachos Day.

Actor Ethan Hawke is turning 49 today. He shares his birthday with actress Emma Stone (31), journalist Maria Shriver (64), actress Sally Field (73), basketball player Lamar Odom (40), and Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (56).

A crucial witness in the impeachment inquiry reversed himself this week and acknowledged to investigators that he had told a top Ukrainian official that the country would most likely have to give President Trump what he wanted — a public pledge for investigations — in order to unlock military aid.

Trump exchanged several calls with a former contestant on “The Apprentice” who has accused him of sexually assaulting her about a decade before he was elected, according to cellphone records made public yesterday as part of a lawsuit against him.

Former Vice President Joe Biden unfurled sharply personal new lines of attack against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, questioning her contributions to the Democratic Party and seeking to cast her as an elitist who believes people lack courage or wisdom unless they agree with her.

Childhood trauma causes serious health repercussions throughout life and is a public health issue that calls for concerted prevention efforts. That’s the takeaway of a report published yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state Board of Regents appointed Shannon Tahoe as acting commissioner of education, and announced several more top leadership changes within the agency.

New York could be forced to make more than $1.5 billion in drastic cuts to Medicaid spending over the next five months as the state grapples with unplanned health care costs.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand expanded her list of progressive social policy concerns yesterday, rolling out bipartisan legislation aimed at helping family caregivers bear the financial burden of tending to loved ones with chronic diseases, developmental problems and other maladies that require constant attention.

New York is now requiring all death certificates for people who’ve died of an opioid overdose to specify which opioid was involved in their death, if known.

The Homeless and Travelers Aid Society has issued a Code Blue alert for today through Tuesday, Nov. 12, with temperatures expected to fall below freezing.

All 50 states should pass laws requiring cyclists to wear helmets, a federal safety panel recommended amid a national spike in bike fatalities.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill will head Visa’s physical security when he leaves the NYPD next month, the credit card company said in a statement.

NYC parks workers drew a crowd when they had to remove a fish that mysteriously ended up in a Central Park foundation.

More than 900 educators gathered at the Capital Center in Albany for the annual Urban Schools Conference.

A group of four black Schenectady City School District leaders opened a window into the kinds of challenges and slights they face on a regular basis while demonstrating new groups formed to discuss those issues.

Krispy Kreme has reached an agreement with a Minnesota college student who drove to Iowa every weekend to buy hundreds of doughnuts to resell them in the Twin Cities area.

RIP Jerome L. Wilson, a former Democratic state senator from Manhattan who helped liberalize a rigorous 18th-century law that had left New York as the sole state that required a spouse to prove adultery as the only legal ground for divorce, who died on Friday in Essex, Conn. at the age of 88.

RIP novelist Ernest J. Gaines, whose poor childhood on a small Louisiana plantation germinated stories of black struggles that grew into universal tales of grace and beauty, who died at the age of 86.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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