Steve Noble’s seemingly improbable rise from an obscure Parks & Rec Department employee to the city’s highest elected office culminated in victory on Tuesday where it began in March — in the back room of a Broadway pizzeria.
Surrounded by friends, family and supporters at Tony’s Pizzeria, the 33-year-old Democrat took a victory lap moments after receiving a concession call from Republican rival Ron Polacco. Unofficial results from the county Board of Elections showed Noble with a commanding 2,763 to 2,215 lead over his opponent.
“It’s been said over the course of this campaign that I’m too nice a guy to run for mayor. Tonight, I’m proud to tell you I’m just as nice a guy as I was eight months ago,” said Noble. “And four years from now I’m probably going to stand here and tell you I’m still the same guy. Because what’s most important is that we put the people first here in the City of Kingston, above politics, above ego. If we do that we’re going to get the job done.”
Noble’s path to the mayor’s office began back in March when he announced that he would challenge his boss, incumbent Shayne Gallo, for the Democratic Party line. Running with support from the city’s Democratic Committee, Noble led the progressive “One Kingston” coalition in a primary fight against Gallo-backed council candidates in an intra-party civil war.
On primary night in September, Noble handed Gallo a stinging 880-668 defeat and One Kingston candidates carried the day in every ward where they competed. They would go on to face an anemic Republican slate with just four candidates for 14 city and county elected offices and a handful of holdover Gallo supporters running on third party-lines.
While One Kingston candidates prevailed on primary night, the picture on Election Night was mixed. Noble’s uncle and longtime alderman-at-large James Noble won re-election, beating out veteran county legislator Jeanette Provenzano 2,962 to 1,426. Noble bested Provenzano in September’s Democratic Party primary; she remained on the ballot on the Independence Party line but did not actively campaign for the seat.
The One Kingston candidate, however, stumbled in Ward 9 where incumbent Republican incumbent Deborah Brown beat out Democrat Lynn Johnson 314-281. (In 2013, Johnson came within four votes of unseating Brown, the Common Council’s sole Republican.)
In Ward 3, election night results showed incumbent Democrat and One Kingston candidate Brad Will down by a single vote — 344-345 — against challenger Andrew Champ-Doran. Will trounced Champ-Doran 139-86 in the Democratic Primary, but Champ-Doran soldiered on and got the Independence Party line. The outcome of the race will now be decided by absentee ballots.
In a three-way race in Ward 1, Democrat and One Kingston candidate Lynn Eckert won election with 370 votes, beating out Republican Sean Pascoe (200 votes) and Independence Party candidate Laurie Ann Morris (81 votes). Eckert will replace Democratic incumbent and council Majority Leader Matt Dunn who did not seek re-election. In Ward 6, Democratic newcomer Tony Davis beat Republican Joe Corcoran 438-233.
In Ward 2, first-time candidate Doug Koop won re-election unopposed, having bested incumbent Brian Seche in the Democratic primary. Incumbent council members Nina Dawson (D-Ward 4), Maryann Mills (D-Ward 7), Bill Carey (D-Ward 5) and Steve Schabot also coasted to re-election unopposed.
The referendum to give the Common Council and mayor veto power over sales of city water to outside entities, introduced in the wake of the Niagara Bottling Co. controversy, won overwhelmingly, 3,625 to 737.
The election night results mean that Noble will enter office with three reliable Gallo partisans (Mills, Dawson and Brown) remaining on the council rather than a solid One Kingston majority. Dunn, however, expressed confidence that the incoming mayor would find a warm welcome in the legislative branch.
“We’ve got good people on the council, we’ve got the mayor’s office, we’ve got Alderman at large,” said Dunn. “That’s what counts.”