GLOVERSVILLE -- Gloversville Mayor Vince DeSantis won the city's special election for mayor Tuesday, but his running mates on the Gloversville Party are both trailing in the unofficial vote count.
DeSantis, a former city judge, received 1,152 votes, defeating Libertarian Party candidate Dale "Hank" McGrath, who received 320 votes. The special election determined DeSantis can serve out the remaining two years on former Mayor Dayton King's third term. King resigned in January as part of a plea deal after admitting to stealing some stamps from the city.
King's resignation resulted in some shuffling of the positions on Gloversville's Common Council: DeSantis was appointed from his councilman-at-large seat to mayor, former 4th Ward Councilman Steve Smith was appointed councilman-at-large and Brenda Leitt, a Gloversville native and school district treasurer, was appointed to fill the 4th Ward seat.
DeSantis, Smith and Leitt all ran as Democrats Tuesday, and picked up most of their votes from registered Democrats, even though none of them were endorsed by the Fulton County Democratic Committee.
In an unprecedented move, the Fulton County Democratic Committee ignored its own bylaws and conducted a mail-in ballot to determine endorsements for the Democratic candidates in Gloversville, the only municipality in Fulton County with a Democratic governing majority. DeSantis, Smith and Leitt also ran under the "Gloversville Party," an independent fusion ticket party created by DeSantis, a former Republican during King's first re-election bid.
Three write-in candidacies launched via Facebook, two cousins Brandon Rowback and Brian Rowback and a third man, Joshua Southworth, collected a total of 28 write-in votes for mayor. Brandon Rowback is the son of councilman-at-large candidate and 2017 mayoral candidate William Rowback Jr.
Both Smith (806 votes) and Leitt (100) trail challengers Rowback (853 votes) and former 4th Ward councilwoman Ellen Anadio (138 votes). Both Rowback and Anadio both ran as Republicans and on the independent "Stump City" party line, a reference to Gloversville's nickname from early in the city's history when many trees were cut down to create the city of Gloversville.
The Fulton County Board of Elections on Tuesday said 127 absentee ballots have been returned so far. DeSantis said he believes there could be as many as 206 total absentee ballots, but they would have to be postmarked by Nov. 5 in time to be counted.
Rowback said Tuesday night he's not ready to declare victory. He said he believes Smith and Leitt will ask for a recount.
Smith did not return phone calls seeking comment.
DeSantis said he doesn't know if Smith and or Leitt will seek a recount.
The Fulton County Board of Elections could initiate a recount on its own if any discrepancies are discovered during the routine recanvassing.
He said he hopes the council will continue to work well together. "It's fairly rare for municipal governments to get along well. I hope it continues," he said.
The Gloversville Party majority Common Council earlier this year passed a resolution committing $1.1 million of the city's approximately $7 million fund balance of unspent tax revenues toward economic development projects should Gloversville win this year's New York state $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.
DeSantis said the Mohawk Valley Region is the only region among the state's economic development districts that is still waiting to see what municipality won the 2019 DRI grant.
"We're on pins and needles," he said.
DeSantis said if Gloversville doesn't win this year, and they reapply next year for the grant, the new council in 2020 will have to pass a new resolution to commit city funds toward the DRI.
In previously unreported election results:
-- In Stillwater, the Town Board race for two seats remained close, with incumbent Republican Lisa A. Bruno trailing in her re-election bid, pending the counting of absentee ballots.
Unofficial final results give Republican incumbent Ellen R. Vomacka 977 votes, Democrat Valerie J. Masterson 751 votes, Bruno 739 votes, and Democrat Jimel C. Williams with 689 votes.
-- In Charlton, voters approved propositions changing the elected terms of the town clerk and town tax collector from two years to four years.