Paula Mahan and her husband Joe speak with Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan on Election Day. (Photo by Jim Franco/Spotlight News)
COLONIE – In what was one of the nastier campaigns in the Capital District, Supervisor Paula Mahan won a sixth term with 53 percent of the vote.
Her opponent, Frank Mauriello, the Republican minority leader on the Albany County Legislature who had the Conservative, Independence, Green and Reform Party lines, ended the night with 47 percent.
In raw, unofficial numbers, Mahan had 11,941 votes to Mauriello’s 10,631.
Mahan, took issue with some of her opponent’s ads, as well as unfounded accusations against her family, corruption within her administration and about the mismanagement of town assets. It became painfully clear, as the campaign progressed, the animosity between the two camps was rooted more in long-standing personal grudges than any drastic policy disagreements.
“It was very rough and tumble,” Mahan said of the campaign. “I don’t appreciate what went on, but I told our people ‘we are going to run a clean campaign. We are not going to be like our opponents.’ I know them very, very well and they are nothing but bullies and they bullied me from day one. I hope someday they will come up to me and tell me in person some of the things they have been saying about me.”
Mauriello campaign revolved around the issues of the worsening traffic congestion on the busier corridors in town, what is perceived as development run wild and the landfill. The landfill, he said, could close by February if the state Department of Environmental Conservation doesn’t allow the town to expand the site off Route 9. If that doesn’t happen, he said, the cost of trash collection for town residents would increase exponentially and there would be a multi-million hole in the budget from the landfill revenues disappearing.
He called the race “tough” but “active” and in the long run the town will be better for the issues raised by the Republican Party.
“I still have my seat on the Legislature and I enjoy governing so I’m not going anywhere,” Mauriello said. “If you look at her campaign literature from 10 years ago, she was talking about doing something with traffic so she really can’t use the excuse that we are a pass through community. And the landfill is a major concern. If we don’t get the approvals from DEC to expand I’m not sure what the town is going to do.”
For decades Colonie was the last bastion of Republican strength in Albany County. And then, a decade ago, Mahan beat then Supervisor Mary Brizzell and the Democrats took control of the board. Since, Mahan and the Democrats have frustrated any attempt by the GOP to re-gain control.
“We put a lot of effort into this race and we made inroads in Colonie and our Republican Party is better for it,” Mauriello said. “We are building momentum and we will use this momentum to continue moving forward in two years.”
Throughout the campaign Mahan has said the GOP ran town finances into the ground under Brizzell, and did so with Mauriello’s OK when he was on the Town Board.
This is my sixth term and this is the best win ever,” she said at Martell’s Restaurant where Albany County Democrats held their post-election celebration.