Will we give up on our democracy or try to fix it?

Community members headed to the polls earlier this year to vote on the Watertown City School District’s proposed budgets and school board nominees. Sydney Shaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Now that it's been sorted out who’s on the ballot, this fall’s mayoral campaign is ready to kick back up again.

Candidates Allison I. Crossman, Councilman Cody J. Horbacz and former Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith are on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Cliff G. Olney III, who ran two unsuccessful campaigns for council, is running as a write-in candidate.

Even though it got an earlier start than usual, the mayoral campaign was in flux while the courts sorted out whether either or both Councilman Horbacz and Mrs. Crossman would remain on the ballot after they tied for second in the June 25 primary.

“It’s finally campaign time,” Mrs. Crossman said Wednesday.

It’s time for going door-door, talking to voters, putting up yard signs, handing out palm cards, getting their message out and fundraising efforts.

Supporters were hesitant to donate to her campaign and to become involved as volunteers until they knew for sure she’d be a candidate, Mrs. Crossman said.

In recent days, she’s been out changing her yard signs to reflect that Nov. 5 is Election Day and that the primary is over. More yard signs are on the way, she said.

The matter to sort out the second-place tie had no bearing on how Mr. Smith and Mr. Olney treated their campaigns.

“I’m still plugging away,” Mr. Olney said.

Like he’s done right along, Mr. Olney will use his Facebook page and websites to let voters know where he stands on the issues.

Mr. Smith went to council meetings and attended events where he talked to people about his campaign while he waited to find out who was going to be his opponents.

He plans to focus on how he differs from his opponents, talking about his qualifications and record in local government.

They agreed that what to do about the loss of millions of dollars in hydroelectric revenues when the National Grid contract expires in 10 years will be the big issue during the campaign.

A task force should be formed to study the issue, Mr. Olney said, adding that his opponents are not saying what they plan to do about it.

Mr. Smith predicted that the city will have to close one of two pools it now operates. The city will not be able to afford a third pool, he said, blaming the repercussions of proceeding with a $3.1 million new pool at Thompson Park.

Mrs. Crossman believes transparency in city government has been a problem with the current administration, noting the way the Watertown Golf Club has been treated amid encroachment issues involving its new owner.

Mr. Olney said he doesn’t believe the notion that he should pull out of the race since write-in candidates usually have little chance of winning.

Supporters from the Horbacz and Crossman campaigns have tried to talk him into dropping out because his candidacy might hurt their chances.

If they want to win, they should criticize Mr. Smith’s record, he said.

Mrs. Crossman has scheduled a meet and greet event on Sept. 25 at Ives Hill Country Club, while Mr. Smith will meet voters at an event on Sept. 18 at the Italian American Civic Association.

Councilman Horbacz, who declined to comment for this story, will hold a fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Italian American Civic Association.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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