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Trojan Horserace

Less than a week to election day, the Troy mayoral race is seemigly neck-and-neck

by Cecelia Martinez on November 3, 2011

After nearly eight years with current Mayor Harry Tutunjian, the city of Troy will soon find a new leader in either Republican candidate Carmella Mantello or Democratic candidate Lou Rosamilia, and the election is shaping up to be a close race.

“Every vote is going to count in this race,” said Rosamilia, who was nominated by the Democratic Committee in July after previous candidate Clem Campana dropped out of the race. A Rensselaer County legislator and professor at Hudson Valley Community College, Rosamilia said he is grateful for the support he has received from the community and has made strides toward making up ground lost by his predecessor in the campaign for mayor.

Mantello, who is returning to local politics after 12 years at the Hudson River Valley Greenway and the New York State Canal Corporation, was an early pick to represent the Republicans. This is her second bid for mayor; she previously ran for the office after serving on the City Council more than a decade ago. If elected, Mantello would be Troy’s first female mayor.

Although early polls conducted by The Record and Gramercy Communications showed Mantello with a strong lead over Campana, more recent results show current candidates tied within the margin of error. Mantello said that she is not deterred by poll numbers and is just as excited and optimistic about her campaign as ever.

“You have to look at the numbers,” said Mantello, referring to registered Republicans in the City of Troy. “We’re outnumbered 2-1. What we have done from day one is the same thing we’re going to do on Nov. 8. I feel that people are now recognizing the difference between the two of us. Folks see my energy, passion vision and plan, and little by little I think folks are recognizing that I have a better grip on the issues and real management experience.”

In addition to gaining in the polls, Rosamilia has picked up a number of high-profile endorsements in recent weeks, including nods from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and the Troy Police Benevolent Association. Rosamilia also was endorsed by Jack Cox, Jr., a write-in candidate for mayor who was able to earn 4-percent support in polls before dropping out.

Mantello has picked up endorsements from more than 35 elected officials and community leaders from both parties across the state, as well as the United Firefighters Association and current Mayor Tutunjian.

Both candidates have stressed a desire to run a clean campaign with as little mudslinging as possible. Mantello said the main issue facing the city is improving communication within local government and with the many colleges and organizations in Troy.

“We need to take out the political, territorial bickering and we need to remove this ethical gray cloud that’s over our city,” said Mantello. “I am hearing that people are tired of not having confidence in government in the City of Troy. We can redevelop our waterfront and improve the quality of life and keep businesses and residents in the city and bring in new ones.”

Rosamilia has focused in on quality-of-life issues, including the placing of resource officers in public schools, as part of his “Healthy Neighborhoods Action Plan.” He has rolled out the plan in increments throughout his campaign, raising concerns about absentee landlords, parking issues and the equitable distribution of resources throughout all neighborhoods in the city.

“It’s going very well, the reception at the door has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Rosamilia. “We’re very focused on getting that message out and emphasizing a positive campaign.”

There has been some negative back-and-forth among the candidates, however, particularly over Rosamilia’s record at the County Legislature and his involvement—or lack thereof—with the ongoing voter-fraud scandal in Troy, as well as Mantello’s record at the Canal Corporation.

“From my point of view, everything I’ve said has been factual,” said Rosamilia, noting that he abstained from a Legislature vote to reform the county’s ethics policy because of his employment at HVCC.

“I was disappointed in some aspects,” said Mantello, adding that her record at the Canal Corporation is “stellar.” “Folks are tired of the politics as usual.”

Whoever wins the race for mayor will be taking the reins on large projects like the citywide property-value reassessment and the redevelopment of 1 Monument Square in downtown Troy. For more information on the candidates, visit lourosamilia4mayor.com and carmellaformayor.com.