Experience suggests that most registered voters will decide who they plan to vote for — if they plan to vote at all — some time between this weekend and next Tuesday.
For the first time since 1987, when Republican Dick White decided against a third term, candidates for the mayoralty of Kingston will be seeking an open seat.
While some may quibble over the choices, the reality is we’re down to the final four candidates, two of whom have virtually no chance of breaking into double digits.
Democrat Shayne Gallo harkens to the good ol’ mid-’90s, the heydays of his late brother, then-mayor T.R. Gallo. While some might consider this “Gallo for Mayor” redux a bit misleading, the fact is T.R. and Kingston Democrats were dealt a great hand. We had a strong economy (the departure of IBM still hadn’t fully set in), a pork-barrel congressman with a stream of federal cash and a young mayor with lots of ideas on how to spend it all. Taxes were held down, streets were paved, flowers were planted. There was even money left over for fireworks and free New Year’s Eve parties for senior citizens. If Midtown crime, drugs and prostitution were problems, they could just send in the mounted patrol — another frill Kingston really couldn’t afford.
Shayne Gallo had little to do with any of that, the brothers being on the outs in those days. They made up shortly before Gallo’s untimely death in January 2002. And while fondly referring to his brother and the times in which he governed, Shayne takes a hardheaded pragmatic approach to the very serious issues facing Kingston. In fact, the good ol’ days are long gone. The future is at best cloudy. Shayne Gallo seems to have the gravitas to deal with the challenges immediately ahead.
Once he wrested the Democratic nomination from Alderman Hayes Clement by a hair’s-breadth seven votes, the general election became Gallo’s race to lose. As we approach the hour of decision, there is little indication he will do so.
If anything, Gallo has strengthened his hand since his surprising primary victory. He has reached out to the “new Kingston” Clement crowd, who with the exception of a few holdouts with Clement bumper stickers still on their cars, will vote for the only Democrat left in the race.
I found it clever of Gallo to include a photo of himself and Clement (next to the ubiquitous photo of the candidate and his mother) in one of his last campaign mailings. If that doesn’t send a message, nothing will.