When a beaming Kathy Sheehan took the podium Tuesday night, she was introduced as the “next mayor of the city of Albany.”
Sheehan, currently city treasurer, had just received a concession call from Corey Ellis, her opponent in the Democratic primary race for mayor of Albany.
Because Democrats hold such a huge enrollment edge in Albany, Sheehan is all but guaranteed to win the general election in November. If elected, she will be the city’s first female mayor and just the fourth Albany mayor since 1941.
In her victory speech, Sheehan spoke of “the tremendous amount of work before us” and her goal to create a “healthy, vibrant, growing Albany.”
She also said that the city faces challenges that need to be addressed quickly, such as a shrinking tax base and a budget gap.
“We need to streamline our operations as much as possible, to create ways of expanding our tax base,” she said.
Mayor Jerry Jennings announced earlier this year that he would not seek a sixth term.
With more than 87 percent of the vote counted, Sheehan led Ellis 6,973 to 3,074, or about 65 percent to 28 percent.
At her party at the Albany Pump Station, Sheehan thanked cheering supporters, a group that included state Sen. Neil Breslin and Albany Common Council member Barbara Smith.
“I think we put together a campaign unlike anything this city had ever seen,” she said. “This city was empowered. ... This city was engaged. ... This campaign was always about bringing positive change to City Hall. I’ve always said that I’m running a campaign for mayor. I’m not running against anyone.”
Sheehan promised that as mayor she would put together a “leadership team that looks like the city.”
“We’ve got to move the city into the 21st century,” she said.
Sheehan is an attorney. She graduated from Albany Law School in 1994 and joined Latham-based Intermagnetics General Corp. in 1996.
This was Ellis’ second bid to become mayor. He ran against Jennings four years ago.
Two other candidates for mayor will be on the general election ballot: Republican Jesse Calhoun and Conservative Joe Sullivan. There are also two write-in candidates: local personality and activist Marlon Anderson and longtime Albany resident Theresa Portelli, a member of the Green Party.