SARATOGA SPRINGS: 13 walk out of Dem caucus

A group of 13 Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee members, including Planning Board Chairman Lew Benton and Mayor Valerie Keehn's husband, David, walked out of the party's caucus Saturday, May 12, before the remaining committee members endorsed Mayor Valerie Keehn's challenger, Gordon Boyd.

Despite the walkout, acting Democratic Chairman Lou Schneider said there was hardly a split in the party.

Thirteen out of 50 is hardly a split, he said. "We're strong; we have a good party " we're going to persevere."

The committee uses a weighted vote in which each committee member casts a vote representing the gubernatorial vote in his or her election district. There are two members per district and each carries half of that vote. There is a total weighted vote of 6,374. Boyd carried 3,838.5 votes for, 195.5 against, and 122 abstaining.

Even if all of the members who walked out voted against endorsing Boyd, he still would have carried 60 percent of the weighted vote.

"The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee today rejected the divisiveness that has prevented the city from moving forward on the important issues affecting our future. Over the past year or more, the incumbent has spent too much time and energy pursuing divisive issues, often to the detriment of the city's interests," Boyd said in a prepared statement.

"As mayor, I will always put the interests of the city above personal or political differences. I will focus on the important issues: the future of thoroughbred racing, the vitality of downtown, the need for affordable housing, the redevelopment of the city center and the securing a permanent water source. Addressing these issues requires the ability to work with people who won't always share your opinions or ideas. It's the mayor's job to create consensus. That's what I will do when elected, and I am honored that the Democratic Committee has shown its confidence in me toward that end," he said.

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