GLOVERSVILLE — Gloversville will be getting a new mayor in January, and outgoing Mayor Dayton King is promising to cooperate and support a smooth transition despite a hard-fought campaign that has lasted for months, to before a party primary.
Republican William A. Rowback Jr. on Tuesday defeated the eight-year incumbent King 1,800 to 1,490, according to final but unofficial results from the Fulton County Board of Elections.
The day after his defeat, King said he won't criticize Rowback, and he plans to help make the transition a smooth one. The men spoke on the phone and also met Wednesday afternoon.
"I think at the end of the day, Mr. Rowback campaigned really hard and went door-to-door to every residence in the city," King said. "I've been mayor for eight years and it's been great, but it's time for the city to welcome a new mayor."
Rowback had beaten King by a slim margin for the Republican nomination in a September primary, but King remained on Tuesday's ballot on the Conservative line. Rowback also had the Moving Forward ballot line.
Rowback is a 28-year member of the Gloversville Fire Department, whose union took umbrage last February when King proposed cutting about $300,000 in personnel costs from the fire department, with the money to be used to hire additional people in the police department. The city currently has 28 paid career firefighters.
Rowback announced his campaign for mayor in February, and since then has attended most City Council meetings and many other government functions. His winning campaign was in his first bid for public office.
Rowback, a Navy veteran, campaigned on a platform that included creating a new community center in partnership with non-profit organizations, establishing a database to track heroin overdoses, creating a tax credit program to encourage investment in foreclosed homes, and trying to develop new businesses. He said he will be a full-time mayor; the position's annual salary is $42,000.
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox made an appearance in support of Rowback during the campaign, but in its final days Rowback complained that King supporters had obtained confidential medical information from his city files and released it through social media.
Rowback couldn't be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Since King's primary defeat in September, the local newspaper, the Leader-Herald, published a series saying the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan is active in Fulton County — a series to which King reacted strongly, saying such views don't represent Gloversville. He attended an anti-Klan event in the city the weekend after the stories appeared.
King said he doubted the negative publicity the city received had anything to do with the election outcome.
"There's people without homes living in America," he said. "I feel blessed to have a home, to live in America, and I hope everyone supports our new mayor."
The city of 15,000 is the largest in Fulton County, but has struggled economically for decades, having lost one-third of its population in the last century as the glovemaking industry faded and finally left the city. Both candidates said they would fight to improve the city's economic fortunes.