AMSTERDAM - The Montgomery County Democratic Committee recently unanimously endorsed business owner Mike Cinquanti to run for mayor of Amsterdam.
Cinquanti, president and majority shareholder of the Genium Publishing Corp., is a registered member of the Independence Party, which means in order to run on the Democratic Party line in November he needed the endorsement of the county Democratic Party. Prior to receiving the county committee endorsement Cinquanti received the unanimous endorsement of the Amsterdam City Democratic Committee.
City Democratic Party Chairman Chad Majewski said Cinquanti met with the city committee Wednesday and answered all of its member's questions before they endorsed him.
"I think Mr. Cinquanti shares a lot of the values of our city mission statement, and he's willing to work with our party, and he realizes he can't get this done on his own, and he needs a slew of people to help," Majewski said. "He's for the betterment of the people. He doesn't want to exclude anybody. He's looking out for the city as a whole."
When Cinquanti announced his candidacy on social media March 21, he said he doesn't have many specific criticisms of the current administration's policies, other than he believes he could do a better job.
"I think he knows what the main issues are. When he was pressed on those issues he was very honest with the committee members and said he still needs to do some of his homework before he comes up with an opinion, and he needs to research both sides of the story. There was some actual city employees and people of the public he needs to talk to first," Majewski said. "Obviously he's going to need to come out with full opinions on most of the hot topics in the city before the election, but right now he's just in the infancy of getting his campaign together, and he'll get those to us as quickly as he can."
Incumbent Mayor Michael Villa, a Republican, declared his candidacy for reelection March 2.
In 2015 Villa, running on the Republican, Conservative Party, Reform Party and Independence Party lines, defeated former Mayor Ann Thane, a Democrat, who also ran on the Rebuilding Amsterdam and Women’s Equality party lines. Villa defeated Thane 2,250 to 1,304, despite Democrats having a registration advantage of 3,776 to 2,432 Republicans. Democrats also control the majority of the Common Council seats 3 to 2.
Majewski said despite Democrats having a nominal advantage in Amsterdam, there was little interest among registered Democrats in running for mayor this year. Cinquanti has stated he was a registered Democrat, but changed his party affiliation around the year 2000. He said he also supported Thane in at least one of her mayoral campaigns.
Majewski said there was "some interest" among a few Democrats in running for mayor, but no one who stepped up and applied for endorsement from the committee the way Cinquanti did.
Majewski, who had served as deputy mayor and 3rd Ward alderman until resigning in July 2018, said "it's not in the cards" for him to run right now. He said the job of mayor will be a very difficult one, given the city's approximately $9 million accumulated budget deficit, built up over the past decade.
"In probably the last 100 years of Amsterdam's history, this is probably some of the worst conditions Amsterdam has been in right now. Somebody who signs on to run for mayor, has their plate full," Majewski said. "We thought it was important that we endorse a second candidate. I don't think, as far as I know, there has ever been a mayor who ran unopposed, so we thought it was important to put somebody on the ticket."
Cinquanti has said he intends to challenge Villa first in the Independence Party primary.
The last day to file petitions to run in the June 25 party primaries is April 4.
Majewski said the Amsterdam City Democratic Committee has endorsed a full slate of Alderman candidates: challenger Ken Mazor [1st Ward], challenger David Gomula [2nd Ward], incumbent Irene Collins [3rd Ward], incumbent David Dybas [4th Ward], and incumbent James Martuscello [5th Ward].