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What you need to know for 11/20/2017

Democrats keep Schenectady Council seats

Democrats keep Schenectady Council seats

Porterfield, Mootooveren, Zalewski-Wildzunas retain posts
Democrats keep Schenectady Council seats
Marion Porterfield is all smiles Tuesday as she arrives at the Schenectady Ancient Order of Hibernians on State Street.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER

SCHENECTADY — Three Democratic incumbents were re-elected to the Schenectady City Council on Tuesday, beating back a third-party challenger and two Republicans, according to unofficial election results.

Marion Porterfield, John Mootooveren and Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas all retained their seats, despite a challenge from city resident Damonni Farley, who held the Working Familes ballot line. The results mean Democrats will continue to control six of the seven council seats.

"I'm excited that we won and really hope we can work together cohesively as a council," Porterfield said. "I'm really looking forward to getting our neighborhoods revitalized and having jobs go to local people. Another major concern is homelessness."

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Marion Porterfield (from left), John Mootooveren and Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas.

Republican candidates Hafez Assad and Rima Cerrone trailed significantly, according to unofficial returns from the Schenectady County Board of Elections.

Final but unofficial returns gave Porterfield 4,471 votes, Mootooveren 4,426 votes, and Zalewski-Wildzunas, 4,025. Trailing were Cerrone, with 2,353 votes, Farley, with 2,258 votes and Hafez, with 1,725 votes.

Farley was on the ballot on the Working Families line, even though he lost his bid to force a Democratic primary in September when a judge invalidated his nominating petitions after they were challenged.

In 2013, Mootooveren, who has a background in accounting, became the first Guyanese-American elected to the council. He chairs the Public Safety Committee.

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Porterfield, who is director of Job Matching Pathways, a neighborhood employment program, was elected to her second four-year term Tuesday, after first being appointed to a council vacancy in 2012 and winning a primary and one-year term that year.

Zalewski-Wildzunas won her first four-year term Tuesday. She was elected to a one-year term in 2016, after she was appointed to replace councilman John Ferrari, who resigned. A banker by profession, Zalewski-Wildzunas also serves on the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority board of directors.

Farley, a community engagement specialist with the Schenectady City School District, was one of the leaders of the Miracle on Craig Street effort to revive the Carver Community Center in Hamilton Hill before deciding to run for office, and he has been involved in other community organizations. This was his first run for public office.

Farley could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, swilliams@dailygazette.net or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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