For the past six years, the Saratoga Springs mayor's office has been occupied by Scott Johnson. With the former lawyer stepping down at the end of the year, two women seek to fill his seat and usher the Spa City into the future. YNN's Matt Hunter reports.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- After a campaign season that began mid-spring, Republican Shauna Sutton and Democrat Joanne Yepsen find themselves in a tight race to become the third female mayor in the Spa City's history.
"I was afraid if I didn't step up, things might fall by the wayside," said Sutton, who’s seeking her first elected office.
"I believe I can make a more positive impact for Saratoga Springs as mayor," Yepsen said.
Each candidate's resume includes years of experience in local government. Sutton has served as Mayor Johnson's deputy for the past six years.
"I can be productive on day one," Sutton said of her experience inside the mayor’s office.
Yepsen has represented the city on the County Board of Supervisors since 2006.
"I have had my pulse on the community and working with the people," who’s in her fourth term as supervisor.
It's this distinction, having been elected by voters and not appointed by the mayor, Yepsen believes separates her. It's a notion Sutton finds short-sighted,.
"I have had firsthand experience of what it's like to be accountable to 27,000 people," Yepsen said.
"When it comes to that leadership role, I've always been able to rally people and I think I have a really good following," Sutton said.
Many of the issues that will land on the next mayor's desk are nothing new. However, the potential of a full-scale casino in the city could present a new set of challenges.
"I think we can make sure if we are sighted here that situations can be worked out," Sutton said.
"If the casino becomes a piece of that, let's do it so it's a win-win situation for all of us," Yepsen said.
In recent years, Democrats have nearly erased the heavy advantage Republicans once held with registered voters. Many expect this race to be won by the smallest of margins.
"We are going to appreciate our past but move into the future together and I look forward to being the mayor in this next election cycle," Yepsen said.
"I firmly believe I am the best candidate,” Sutton said. “I have the knowledge, I have the experience, I have the passion and I'm looking forward to it whole heartedly."