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  • Writer's pictureMantello Press

Mantello wins Troy mayoral seat

TROY — Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello became the first woman to be elected mayor when she defeated Democratic Rensselaer County Legislator Nina Nichols Tuesday and pulled in a GOP majority on the City Council.

Mantello’s experience and name recognition allowed her to overcome the Democrats’ 3-1 enrollment edge over city Republicans, ending the Democrats’ 12-year hold on the city’s top elected office.

Mantello was the first Republican since former Mayor Harry Tutunjian to draw more votes on the Republican line than her opponent did on the Democratic line.

“It’s overwhelming. This is all about Troy. I said from day one this was not about me,” Mantello said about the voters’ support, giving her a 4,473 to 3,686 margin of victory with all 29 election districts reporting.

“They sent a message to the state and the Capital Region. We don’t care about party lines,” she said. “The people really sent a message that they really want to take back their streets.”

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Republicans held a raucous celebration at the Franklin Terrace on Campbell Avenue shouting “Take back Troy” and with many of them jumping up and down.

“I’m happy for her. She worked really hard,” said state Sen. Jake Ashby, R-Schodack.

Mantello will come into office with two investigations underway by the state attorney general’s Office of Special Investigations into the deaths of two men who died while interacting with city police officers.

Mantello also will have to deal with keeping the city’s finances balanced after the state’s Troy Municipal Assistance Corp. bonds were paid off. The Troy MAC bonds were used to bail the city out of a financial disaster dating to the late 1990s. Mantello has said she will not support new taxes and has plans to dismantle the city’s trash collection fee.

The Democrats were subdued at Ryan’s Wake on River Street as they digested the results, which also included the reverting of the council to a 4-3 Republican majority, according to unofficial results.

“We ran a progressive campaign. We had a slogan of a ‘safer, cleaner, greener Troy’ we were going to enact,” Nichols said.

Nichols led in the early vote count as she racked up a lead after the early voting and absentee ballots were tallied. Nichols stayed ahead for the first 30 percent of the returns but then Mantello caught up and moved ahead.

“I think there was not a great voter turnout on Tuesday,” Nichols told the Times Union Wednesday afternoon, when asked about the Republican upset. “Overall we didn’t have a great turnout on the polls.”

Nichols said she’d continue her work as a county legislator in addition to her work with nonprofits.

This was Mantello’s third attempt for the mayor’s chair. Mantello’s victory comes after serving eight years as council president, an office she employed to promote herself as fighting for city residents and questioning many of the actions taken by Democratic Mayor Patrick Madden.

“The people of Troy, they want their mayor accessible, they want their mayor on the street, they want a mayor that’s going to communicate with them,” Mantello told the Times Union Wednesday afternoon.

Madden is less than two months away from completing his second four-year term as mayor. Under the city charter’s term limits of eight years in office, he could not seek election to a third term.

Mantello said one of her first goals as mayor is implementing a quality of life task force to tackle issues like crime and blight. Over the next few weeks, she said she and her team would be making announcements on her transition into the office.

Troy is the last of the Capital Region’s four most populous cities to elect a woman as mayor. The Collar City follows Schenectady, Saratoga Springs and Albany in sending a woman to City Hall to lead city government.

“I’m humbled to break that barrier, but at the same time, winning doesn’t mean anything without accomplishments,” Mantello said.



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