Wrong winner declared in Gloversville mayoral race

November 20, 2017 06:21 PM

GLOVERSVILLE – The man who thought he would be Gloversville's next mayor, just found out he actually lost. Republican Fulton County Board of Elections Commissioner Lee Hollenbeck says two wards misread results while calling them in to the county board of elections on election night.

The vote count on election night had Republican William Rowback Jr. beating incumbent Conservative Dayton King by 314 votes.  The Board of Elections now say Rowback actually lost by 28 votes. Monday's number also included absentee ballots.

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King says he got the call from the board of elections Monday morning around 9:30. Last week, he was a lame duck mayor, he was getting ready to move out, and even had the new name plate engraved for Rowback.

"I've got together with him a couple times. I forwarded him probably 50 or 60 emails that say 'hey, FYI'. He went to a recent meeting that I would've went to," said King.

Now, it's a third four-year term for King.  

Hollenbeck says they noticed the error in Ward 3 and Ward 5 while rechecking the results at election headquarters on Friday and Monday. Hollenbeck says it was no one's fault.  And this is why the results are unofficial until they are certified

"It's really unfair to be awarded something and then realize, 'hey, just kidding'. So I can't express enough, that I feel for him and his family to be put in that situation," said King.

Rowback is a firefighter and he was scheduled to be on duty all day Monday, so instead of an interview, he sent a statement. Rowback says he was surprised by the "unusual circumstance" and is "currently reviewing options with my team, including the possibility of a recount,". 

But it turns out, it's not that unusual in Gloversville.  This isn't the first time this has happened. Two years ago, another city ward made the same mistake.

"I would say let's just make sure were doing the right numbers the first time," said King. "This happened two years ago with a councilman race. Steve Smith ran against Ellen Anadio and it wasn't fair to Ellen to think that she had won. Two weeks later Mr. Smith ended up winning."

Hollenbeck says the results will be certified tomorrow. And he also says the board of elections is thinking about ways to make sure this never happens again.


WNYT Staff

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