Democrats will head to the polls Tuesday to pick the city of Albany’s likely next mayor.
There are two Democrats on the primary ballot: city Treasurer Kathy Sheehan and former Albany Common Council member Corey Ellis.
In Albany, Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans, and the winner of the primary is almost guaranteed to win the general election in November.
Sheehan is an attorney. She graduated from Albany Law School in 1994 and joined Latham-based Intermagnetics General Corporation in 1996.
Ten years later, she helped negotiate the $1.3 billion acquisition of Intermagnetics by Philips Medical Systems.
Ellis currently serves as vice president of the Capital District Black Chamber of Commerce, which he cofounded, and is also the Democratic head of Albany’s Ward 11. He ran against longtime Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings four years ago, taking 44 percent of the vote.
Sheehan, who has the backing of the powerful Albany County Democratic Committee and political heavyweights such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, is considered the favorite.
A July Siena Research Institute/YNN poll showed her with a substantial lead over Ellis, with 54 percent of registered Democrats saying they would vote for Sheehan vs. 24 percent who said they would vote for Ellis. Twenty-three percent of voters were undecided.
Two other candidates will be on the general election ballot: Republican Jesse Calhoun and Conservative Joseph Sullivan. There are also two write-in candidates: local personality and activist Marlon Anderson and Green Party candidate Theresa Portelli, the mother of Alexander Portelli, the Libertarian candidate who announced he was quitting the race late last month.
Mayor Jerry Jennings announced earlier this year that he would not seek a sixth term.
Since 1941, there have only been three elected mayors in Albany. Erastus Corning served the longest, from 1942 to 1983.
If Sheehan wins the general election, she would be Albany’s first female mayor. If Ellis wins, he would be the city’s first black mayor.