Incumbents upset in Ogdensburg

John Rishe takes a congratulatory phone call at Hosmer’s Marina after pulling off what appears to be a major upset in Ogdensburg. Mr. Rishe was one of four candidates who appear to have beaten incumbents Tuesday night. A final tally of write-in votes needs to be made before the results are official. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — While it can’t be 100 percent certain until write-in votes are examined Thursday, all signs on election night point to incumbents being swept out of Ogdensburg City Hall.

The upstart write-in campaigns of mayoral candidate Jeffery M. Skelly and city council candidate John Rishe were combined with the Republican campaigns for Steven Fisher and William Dillabough for a stunning upset Tuesday.

“Our whole slate won,” Mr. Rishe said. “I’m astounded. People really wanted change and so we presented them our idea. It’s amazing. We have a lot of work to do.”

Only the total number of write-in votes are available on election night. County election officials will be looking at those ballots on Thursday to tally votes for individuals.

Still the numbers are so large that a significant number would have to be spoiled for the turnout to swing the other way.

In the mayoral race, Democrat Samuel J. Lamacchia had 370 votes, incumbent Mayor Wayne L. Ashley 470 and write-ins 1,481.

Mr. Skelly was busy taking congratulatory phone calls as news of the results spread throughout the county.

“With the four of us it is going to help because we are going to be able to make some changes quick,” he said. “In a matter of weeks we will be able to make a lot of changes that will make a difference.”

Mr. Ashley said he was surprised at the scope of the defeat.

“I respect the voters wishes,” he said. “I wish the winners the best of luck and hope they do the best for the city.”

In the three contested seats for city council Mr. Fisher was the top voter getter with 1,366.

Write-ins came in second with 1,303 and Mr. Dillabough was third with 1,103 votes. Incumbents David G. Price had 878, Jennifer Stevenson 715, and Timothy Davis 558.

“It’s awesome,” Mr. Fisher said. “You can take four people and work together and you can really accomplish something.”

“We’ve got some good ideas,” Mr. Dillabough said. “When we get in in January we’ll see what we can do.”

Mr. Price cautioned that there were still a lot of ballots to examine and that a definite determination would not be made for some time.

“I think it will be interesting to see if they can follow through,” Mr. Price said of the winners and their campaign promises of quick and decisive change. “I hope the public holds them accountable.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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