Judge: all three candidates go on ballot for mayor

Judge: all three candidates go on ballot for mayor

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There will be three candidates on the ballot for mayor of Watertown in November.

State Supreme Court Judge James McClusky ended an impasse Wednesday that has dragged on since the June 25 primary. Jeff Smith won the primary, but Allison Crossman and Cody Horbacz were tied for second, and it was not clear both or either of them would be on the November ballot.

The primary election was supposed to reduce the field of candidates from four to two, but Crossman and Horbacz ended up tied after absentee ballots were counted.

“It’s exactly what we were looking for because it gives the voters the option to choose, which is exactly what they asked for in the primary election,” said Crossman after the judge made his decision.

Likewise, Horbacz said he was pleased by the ruling.

The judge got to decide the issue only because a Watertown resident, Sam Thomas, came forward and filed a lawsuit.

After Crossman and Horbacz tied, the Republican and Democratic commissioners on the Board of Elections - Jude Seymour and Babette Hall - couldn’t agree on how to move forward.

Judge McClusky said the language of the city’s election law “requires the board (of elections)” to certify the three candidates, since it calls for the “the persons who receive the largest and next largest votes for mayor.”

It was a point made as well by Thomas’s lawyer, Robert Slye.

“It (the law) didn’t say it would be two, it said that it would be the largest and next largest number of votes,” Slye told the judge.

Republican elections commissioner Seymour, who has been heavily criticized for his stand in the matter, said after "My parents taught me to stand up for what I believe in. I have a sense of what’s right and wrong and clearly people can disagree with that, and that’s ok, that’s absolutely ok.

“I just appreciate the judge gave us some direction.”

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