Kingston Mayor James Haggerty, second from right, watches campaign coordinator Shelby Watchilla, front left, tabulate election returns at Shanix’s Restaurant, with Kingston Council President Sandra Kase, front right, and council members Michael Jacobs, back left, Marvin Rappaport and Robert Thompson Jr.Bill tarutis/for the times leader
Both parties were right in their predictions that the Kingston municipal races would come down to turnout at the polls, and the low turnout favored Republicans.
Mayor James Haggerty landed a fourth term, trouncing Democratic challenger Stephen Radzinski with nearly 73 percent of the nearly 3,000 votes, despite outspoken support for Radzinski from John Cordora, a challenger Haggerty had vanquished in the party primary. All results are unofficial until certified.
The vote was 2,118 to 776, with six write-in votes. Those were perhaps for Curt Piazza, who mounted a late write-in campaign.
Piazza also failed to chart successfully in the election for borough council, where President Sandra Kase and three other Republican incumbents – Marvin Rappaport, Michael Jacobs and Robert Thompson Jr. – retained their seats. Piazza and Barry Adams were the lone Democrats on the ballot.
The unofficial vote total was: 2,054 for Kase, 2,005 for Jacobs, 1,751 for Rappaport, 1,683 for Thompson Jr., 1,065 for Adams, 899 for Piazza and 19 write-in votes.
Of Kingston’s 8,580 registered voters, 2,811 made it to the polls to vote for mayor on Tuesday, according to an unofficial ballot count from the county Bureau of Elections.
Though he congratulated the Republicans on their victory, Radzinski saw the low turnout – particularly, he felt, among Democrats – as the main impediment to his campaign. “I’m running against a three-term guy. I saw that we weren’t going to achieve 25 to 30 percent of the voters,” he said. “I needed the Democrats to come out strongly. They did not.”
He hopes to remain active in local matters, but acknowledged his campaigning days are at an end.
“I’m 73 years old. I had no ambitions beyond this election,” he said, adding that he wanted to bring in young blood to shake things up. “It may appear that Kingston is moving forward, but they’re not moving forward … I don’t look at anything changing in Kingston … if you look at the numbers.”
Haggerty saw the low turnout “in the sense that people are pleased in the direction of the community” and that the opposition “never articulated a reason to voters to change the course we were on.”
Kase reiterated the party’s campaign points that voters respond to quality services and stable taxes. “We had a real good feeling going into the election and during the campaigning,” she said.