Saratoga County

Saratoga mayor appears to have survived challenge

Mayor Scott Johnson won a third term in office Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Brent Wilkes

Mayor Scott Johnson won a third term in office Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Brent Wilkes by 226 votes, according to unofficial results.

But the two incumbent Republican city commissioners — Public Safety Commissioner Richard Wirth and Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins — were defeated by Democratic challengers Chris Mathiesen for public safety and Michele Madigan for finance, according to unofficial results.

It was unclear how, or if, absentee ballots would affect the outcome.

Johnson had a 226-vote lead over Wilkes with 100 percent of the vote counted.

Wilkes said he was still unsure about the outcome because his campaign team had him winning by more than 100 votes.

The unofficial results from the Saratoga County Board of Elections showed Johnson with 3,304 votes and Wilkes with 3,078.

In the two City Council races, Mathiesen had 3,208 votes to Public Safety Commissioner Wirth’s 2,891 votes. Madigan had 3,231 votes to Ivins’ 2,944 with 100 percent of the vote counted.

Mathiesen is a local dentist who said during the campaign that more needed to be done to control late night fights and disturbances on Caroline Street, especially on weekends.

Madigan criticized the way Ivins developed the city budget. She noted that in 2009 and 2010 the city tax rate increased more than 12 percent. This year the City Council expects to adopt a 2012 budget with just a slight tax increase.

During the campaign, Johnson, 56, stressed progress and financial stability during his first two terms while Wilkes, 59, maintained that the city needed a new, clearer vision for the future.

“I’m thankful to earn support and trust of the voters,” Johnson said late Tuesday.

Johnson said he has reached across party lines to accomplish such things as the city’s new indoor recreation center and a 180-car parking deck proposed where the city’s Woodlawn Avenue parking lot is currently located.

He said because he can work with both parties he sees no major problem having two Democrats replacing two fellow Republicans on the City Council next year. Johnson did say that there were about 400 absentee ballots outstanding in Saratoga Springs. He said this could change the outcome of at least one of the commissioner races because about half of the absentee ballots are Republican.

The mayor serves a two-year term. The salary is $14,500 per year.

Wilkes is a member of Saratoga Citizen Inc., a non-partisan group seeking to change the city charter from the longstanding commission form of government to a more modern city council/city manager system.

The current City Council has been reluctant to place the charter change issue on a city election ballot, despite several attempts by Saratoga Citizen to bring about a vote.

Wilkes said his campaign was not about charter reform. However, if elected he said he would try to place the question of changing the city’s type of government on the ballot so the voters can decide.

Johnson said he is a full-time mayor despite the modest part-time pay.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply