Rossi wins abbreviated mayor’s term in Ballston Spa special election

Frank Rossi Jr.

Frank Rossi Jr.

BALLSTON SPA – Political newcomer Frank Rossi Jr. won Tuesday’s special election for mayor, tallying 553 votes to Mayor Christine Fitzpatrick’s 498.

In the race for a seat on the Board of Trustees, Rossi’s Republican running mate, Bernadette VanDeinse-Perez, bested Democrat Kamran Parwana, 610-440.

A referendum question to move village elections from March to November passed, meaning Rossi and VanDeinse-Perez’s terms will run until November 2023.

The mayor’s race was held to fill the unexpired term of former mayor Larry Woolbright, who resigned in October.

The Republican Woolbright endorsed Rossi and VanDeinse-Perez.

Fitzpatrick, a Democrat who was deputy mayor at the time of Woolbright’s resignation, ascended to mayor in November.

In an interview, Rossi, a developer who resides on Saratoga Avenue, said he believes he won because voters grew tired of the present board’s agendas and tendency to prioritize planning rather than produce outcomes such as making needed repairs to the public works facility.

“They got concerned, especially right now economically, with the country facing some challenges,” Rossi said. “They wanted to make sure that we were in the right hands during this next phase economically, not just locally, but nationally here. So I think it was a definite sort of message that they wanted to send.”

With 1,070 ballots cast, the mayor-elect said it was the highest voter turnout in at least a decade, easily exceeding last year’s turnout of fewer than 800.

“Even for a short, special election cycle scenario, it was one of the biggest elections in recent history,” and Rossi said his 55-vote margin indicated a highly-contested race.

“That’s the way it should be – that we get that many people out there to vote,” he said. “It validates the result in my book because it represents 35% of our village showing up.”

Fitzpatrick, the village’s first-ever female mayor, and a resident of Chapman Street, said:

“I’m glad that we had a record turnout and that people exercised their franchise. I’m very grateful to the people who worked on my campaign and supported me.”

But the defeat signals an end to her time as a public servant.

“I will live in this village as I have for 35 years. I will continue to live my very full life. I will not run for public office again. But certainly, yes, I will be involved in my community,” she said.

Rossi said his next step is to talk three of the sitting trustees to seek common ground and get priorities “set in a position where we’ll have some consensus.”

He also vowed to keep the public involved at all times on these decisions while assessing financially what to do next.

“I’m going to be left with pretty much the budget from the current composition of the board,” he said. “It’s always an interesting conundrum because I don’t know what they’re going to do with it. I have not seen it and won’t see it for a little while longer here, as it’s due in a few days. But we’ll have to hope that they’re going to do the right thing budgetarily moving forward for us, and then we’ll have to figure out if we pass it as is or make some subtle changes to it as I take office on April 1.”

Rossi, whose term starts in April, said he and his running mate are confirming whether VanDeinse-Perez can begin serving right away, because the trustee seat was vacant.

Rossi thanked his supporters.

“I know some Democrats even took a chance on me thinking that this is one year, give him a chance, and I’m not going to let them down,” he said. “I want them to know that I do appreciate that risk that they viewed they were taking, and we’re going to get through this together over the next couple of years.”

Considering the term is abbreviated, Rossi was asked if he’ll run for re-election in November 2023.

“Currently, the answer is yes,” he said with a laugh. “That’s the hope and goal. Let’s earn that right, though, in the first place. Let’s make sure everything goes well in this village so that I can step up and say to everybody, I want to run for re-election.”

Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.


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