SARATOGA SPRINGS - At precisely seven minutes after 11 on the night of Nov. 7, Meg Kelly was declared winner as the 21st mayor of the city of Saratoga Springs.
“I have so much to be grateful for,” Kelly told an exuberant crowd at the Inn at Saratoga where her fellow Democrats congregated election night. “I have a crew that has worked endless hours, with a limited budget, and we killed it.”
Members of the Republican Party were stationed directly across the street at the Holiday Inn, where a near-life size cardboard figure of President Donald Trump greeted all who entered.
Kelly, currently the city’s deputy mayor, will begin her two-year-term Jan. 1, 2018. She defeated Republican candidate Mark Baker 4,630 - 3,911, or by a 54.13 percent to 45.73 percent margin. There were 8,742 ballots cast in the mayoral race.
Voters also elected Democrat Peter Martin as commissioner of public safety. Martin - currently one of two supervisors representing the city at the county level – defeated Republican Donald Braim by a narrow 4,217 to 4,021 margin, and Democrat Francine Vero bested Republican challenger Andrew Blumenberg by a wide margin for the city judgeship.
In the vote to elect two city supervisors, 8,724 ballots were cast. Republican incumbent Matt Veitch - with 28.76 percent of the vote, and Democrat Tara Gaston – with 24.3 percent of the vote, were chosen to serve the city. Democrat Pat Friesen (22.94 percent), Republican John Safford (22.39 percent), and Green Party candidate Joseph Levy (1.56 percent) finished out of the running.
Republican DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, and Democrats John Franck, accounts commissioner, and Michele Madigan, finance commissioner, were each re-elected in uncontested races for City Council seats. Between 243 and 295 votes were cast in the three uncontested races for write-in candidates, garnering approximately four to five percent of the overall tally in each race. The names of those write-in candidates will be documented and made public later this month, according to the Saratoga County Board of Elections.
Kelly vowed to preserve the greenbelt, fix the city’s parking issues, and work collaboratively with the council’s four other members.
Current city Mayor Joanne Yepsen, who chose not to run for re-election, reminisced Tuesday about the night she first secured elected office by becoming the city supervisor in the 2005 election.
"Twelve years ago, I stood in this room and accepted my first job in public service," Yepsen recalled. Since announcing her decision to not seek re-election as mayor, there has been much public speculation about her future political plans.
"There will be no formal announcement this evening," Yepsen said. Asked whether she is keeping the proverbial door open to a political run in the future, Yepsen replied, "I'll always have an eye on how to help people more, always an eye on the political landscape."
Residents also voted in favor of changing the city’s Commission form of governing 4,202 to 4,154, but the miniscule margin of victory requires absentee ballots be counted. The county Board of Elections mailed 711 such absentee ballots and those returned by Nov. 14 will be counted on Tuesday, when a clear winner may be determined.