WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Cliff Olney has won the remaining seat on the Watertown city council.
With both absentee and early ballots still to be counted election night, the race between Olney, in second place with 1179 votes, and Michelle Capone, in third place with 1086 votes, was impossible to call because there were too many votes unaccounted for.
But the Jefferson County Board of Elections released early voting totals late Wednesday afternoon, changing the race totals.
In fact, the race tightened slightly; Olney now has a 73 vote lead over Capone, with 1281 votes to her 1208. But there are now only just over 200 votes left to count, absentees which will be counted next week, and in order to overcome Olney’s lead, Capone would have to far out-perform the vote she got before and on election day.
The early vote totals supplied by the Board of Elections do not change any other of Tuesday night’s results in the city council race. Lisa Ruggiero, the top vote getter, now has 1978 votes. Ben Shoen, in fourth place, has 821 votes; and in the race for the two year term, Patrick Hickey, the winner, now has 1700 votes to Amy Horton’s 1051.
With Olney’s victory, the balance of power on the city council now shifts away from Mayor Jeff Smith, who has held a three member majority, to a likely coalition of Ruggiero, Hickey and Olney.
“What we need to do as a city and what I promised during the campaign, with the help of the other council people, that I hope that we can begin to use the tax payers money, for the things the taxpayers want it spent on,” Olney said Wednesday.
Of course, politics can be complicated, and Hickey says he won’t automatically side with the same people every vote.
It will all depend on the issues in front of him.
“And the bottom line, at the end of the day, if it benefits the city residents of the city of Watertown, it will probably be a yes vote for me,” Hickey said.
Mayor Smith says he’ll wait to see if the election results signal a change in council.
He said he respects the voters’ decision and will work with the people elected, even if they don’t always agree.
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