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Historic primary upset in race for Plattsburgh mayor

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:05 PM EDT
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The unofficial results are in on the winner of the Democratic primary for the Plattsburgh mayoral race. They show an upset, with county legislator Christopher Rosenquest getting more than 50% of the votes. Our Kelly O'Brien has more on this historic primary.

According to the Clinton County historian, they could not find any evidence of an incumbent mayor ever losing the primary, making Mayor Colin Read the first.

Rosenquest says he's grateful for the voters believing in him and his plans for the Lake City.

"Thank you, just really thank you," he said.

Rosenquest brought in more than half the in-person and absentee ballots, a total of 848 votes. Incumbent Mayor Read followed with 574 votes and business owner Tenzin Dorjee had 231.

Rosenquest says his digital campaign and commitment to his plans for Plattsburgh helped him clinch the seat. It's a formula he says he'll stick with through Election Day in November.

"Connecting with voters, reaching out to voters, educating voters-- that is what this is for us," Rosenquest said.

Rosenquest says he wants to focus on bringing money back into the city using creative ways to grow the economy, highlighting the natural resources in the city and tourism. He says he also wants to restore relationships with Plattsburgh Town and the school district.

"Looking at those relationships in a way of creating a partnership rather than detracting from what we could be doing as a community and as a region as a whole," he said.

Voters say change could be good for the Lake City.

"I think change is always good," said Lisa Bojo of Plattsburgh. "Hopefully, good things for our little community."

Mayor Read wasn't available for an on-camera interview but he did send me this statement: "I thank the three candidates who were willing to dedicate their next four years to service to the residents of our city, and the remaining two candidates who I hope will conduct clean campaigns that focus on the concrete things each of them will do to rebuild our city and lower taxes in this incredibly challenging time. I wish them the best of luck."

The results remain unofficial until next week as the Board of Elections double-checks the results to make sure there was nothing incorrect and completes the reports needed by the state, but they say that likely won't result in any big changes of the results.

"No, there's not going to be any big changes," said Greg Campbell of the Clinton County Board of Elections.

Former Plattsburgh Police Lieutenant Scott Beebie is already on the ballot for November as the Republican running. He sent us a statement that said: "Whenever a primary election ends in a dismissal or a failure to elect the candidate the party initially endorsed; you have to simply wonder how deep the fractures go. In this primary, not only did the incumbent lose, but the candidate that won the initial endorsement lost. So it should not be a surprise that our city remains as fractured as the party that is leading it. There is a lot of healing to do within our city. As we all come out of our "pandemic pause" at Team Beebie we know we have a lot of work to do to earn the trust of the business owners, city residents and citizens of the North Country. I look forward to earning their trust in partnership with this community, for which I have been a part of my whole life. Going forward I intend to lead our community with transparency, effective communication and cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation with our neighbors. I will continue to do my best for the only city I have ever called 'home' Plattsburgh."

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