Outgoing Mayor Valerie Keehn says there is no repair in sight for the split in the city's Democratic Party, but party officials say they're optimistic.
I think that the members of the city committee are going to have to tackle this issue, said Keehn, who is no longer a member of the committee.
"There's always an effort to try to reach out to the people who may have left the party," said Lou Schneider, acting chairman of the city's Democratic Committee, when asked about the secession of Keehn's followers from the city party. "I'm always willing to do that."
Schneider says that in the wake of the city's elections, Democratic infighting, particularly between Keehn and outgoing Commissioner of Public Works Thomas McTygue, led to what currently stands as a loss of majority on the City Council. Republicans will grab a 3-to-2 edge on the City Council if Kenneth Ivins, their candidate for finance commissioner, holds onto his lead over Democrat Jane Weihe after absentee ballots are counted by the county Board of Elections. According to unofficial results, Ivins leads Weihe by 154 votes with at least 479 ballots yet to be counted.
McTygue, who has held office in the city for more than 30 years, lost by almost 2,000 votes; Keehn fell to Republican Scott Johnson by almost 500 votes, nearly the same amount garnered by Gordon Boyd, who was running on the Conservative and Independence lines.
Keehn said the split began when she did not reappoint Bill McTygue to the planning board because she saw it as a conflict of interest between that position and his role as director of public works. She said from that point on, there was a movement in the party to turn a blind eye to what she calls McTygue's "bullying" and a concerted lack of support for her move toward a transparent government.