SARATOGA SPRINGS - Less than 15 months have passed since the start of their respective two-year terms, and the next vote-casting day is scheduled to take place more than 33 weeks away.
Cue the candidates for the November 2023 election.
Last month, the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee announced their endorsed slate of candidates for this year’s city election. This week, the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee followed suit.
The Democratic Committee endorsed each of the five current City Council members – all of whom are Democrats. Those incumbents are: Ron Kim for Mayor, Minita Sanghvi for Commissioner of Finance, Jim Montagnino for Commissioner of Public Safety, Jason Golub for Commissioner of Public Works and Dillon Moran for Commissioner of Accounts. Additionally, Gordon Boyd was endorsed by the committee as Supervisor to represent the city at the county level.
This week, the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee announced their nomination of “three strong candidates,” said city GOP Chairman Mike Brandi. “While the current City Council and Democratic Committee consume themselves with politics and petty squabbles, the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee remains focused on what really matters: delivering candidates who will provide effective, competent, and transparent government for the residents of Saratoga Springs.”
The endorsed candidates are: John Safford for Mayor, Matt Veitch – running for reelection to a ninth term as County Supervisor, and Tim Coll for Public Safety.
Safford, a Vietnam Veteran and small-business entrepreneur, was previously unsuccessful in a 2015 bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Joanne Yepsen and in his 2021 run for Supervisor.
Veitch has served as Supervisor since 2008, advocating for the city of Saratoga Springs at the county level.
Coll, who worked as a Special Agent of the FBI for 30 years, is seeking the position of Commissioner of Public Safety. Coll received the unanimous endorsement of the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee. He is also a registered Democrat.
“Tim Coll is indisputably qualified for this position,” said Chairman Brandi, adding that Coll will bring decades of law enforcement and leadership experience with the FBI to “repair and restore the toxic environment that is poisoning the public safety department under the current Commissioner… the Committee is proud to put politics aside to support a candidate as qualified and motivated to serve our city as Tim is.”
Coll says he decided to run because over concerns about “the potential impact of the mismanagement that currently plagues the Public Safety Department.” Coll said after being “denied the opportunity to address the full Democratic Committee for their support,” he sought the endorsement of city Republican leadership. “While I am a registered Democrat, I refuse to be drawn into the tribalism of Democrats vs. Republicans.”
Coll’s campaign manager is Jane Weihe, a past chair of Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee. Weihe was previously unsuccessful in her bid as city Finance Commissioner in 2007 and in a mayoral run in 1987. She is married to local political blogger John Kaufman. Coll said he plans on being on the November ballot as a Democrat with GOP endorsement.
The City Council is comprised of five councilmembers – one mayor and four commissioners. Saratoga Springs is additionally represented at the county by two supervisors. Elections for all seven seats are held every two years.
In addition to the six candidates endorsed by the city Democratic Committee overall and the three thus far nominated by the city Republican Committee, former city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan recently announced she will be vying for a seat as Saratoga County Supervisor, and former Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen said he will run for Mayor. All potential candidates will now be soliciting signatures in order participate in the election, making for a busy Primary and Election season in Saratoga Springs.
The 2023 Election Cycle Calendar points to Primary Elections, where applicable, on June 27, with Early Voting June 17-25. The General Election will be held Nov. 7, with Early Voting Oct. 28-Nov. 5. This year, an election will be held in Saratoga Springs for all five City Council seats – that is, the mayor and four commissioners, as well as both Supervisor positions.
Countywide, registered Republican make up approximately 35.8% of all registered voters, with Democrats charting 29.2% and “blanks” - or registered voters not enrolled in any party - accounting for 27.6%.
In the city of Saratoga Springs, that balance shifts, with Democrats counting just under 40%, Republicans at 28% and blanks at 26.4%.
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