Votes counted in historic Ogdensburg races, failed mayoral candidate speaks out

wwny Votes counted in historic Ogdensburg races, failed mayoral candidate speaks out

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The write-in ballots in Ogdensburg were counted Thursday, confirming a huge win by two candidates for mayor and council.

The St. Lawrence County Board of Elections says mayor-elect Mike Skelly wound up with 1,457 write-in votes and his unofficial running mate John Rishe tallied 1,266.

Though vote totals remain unofficial, this appears to solidify their wins.

"Clearly this write-in campaign was the most well organized that I've seen in 31 years that I've been involved in politics and clearly it paid off for those were involved in the organized effort. The write-in ballot that we have now is far more user friendly than the old lever machines where you had to reach up, pull a slot across and figure out where to write a person's name in, some place," said Tom Nichols, Republican elections commissioner.

Nichols said he was disappointed by the overall voter turnout across the county on Election Day, about 30 percent. But he says Ogdensburg was a different story.

So, will the incoming mayor and council members in Ogdensburg be able to do what they said?

Part of the platform of mayor-elect Skelly and at least some candidates for council included a 25 percent tax cut.

That has some city workers worried about cuts. One of the failed mayoral candidates, Democrat Sam LaMacchia, says maybe with good reason.

"Usually you find out later what you really lost when you do certain things, who's going to pick up the brush and do certain things. There's first responders and police work that needs to be done and stuff. When you cut taxes, you cut services. But if your first priority is to cut taxes, there's your answer," said LaMacchia.

We were unable to reach the other mayoral candidate, incumbent Republican Mayor Wayne Ashley for comment Thursday.

For perspective, Skelly’s write-in vote total was some 600 votes more than LaMacchia and Ashley received combined.

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