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Council incumbents Macaluso, Smith go on to general election

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Two incumbents and a pair of challengers moved on to the Nov. 5 general election after they became the top vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary for Watertown City Council.

As a result of the primary, the field was narrowed down from six candidates to four, with incumbents Teresa R. Macaluso and Jeffrey M. Smith as the top vote-getters. Political newcomers Stephen A. Jennings and Cody J. Horbacz also made it through the runoff Tuesday.

Two other political novices — Jasmine W. Borreggine and Rodney J. LaFave — failed to make the field and a chance to be elected in November.

Ms. Macaluso, running for a second four-year term, said afterward she was surprised she got more votes than the other five candidates. She received 575 votes, according to unofficial results and before absentee ballots are counted.

“I still have a lot of work ahead of me,” she said.

Mr. Smith, who has been on the City Council for 10 years, and Mr. Jennings came within two votes of each in their second and third finishes. Mr. Smith received 454 votes while Mr. Jennings had 452, according to unofficial results.

Mr. Horbacz placed fourth with 342 votes. Rounding out the field were Mr. LaFave, with 262 votes, and Mrs. Borreggine with 246.

Voters could choose only two candidates. Elected offices in the city are nonpartisan; any registered voter can vote in the primary.

Turnout was low, with just 1,262 people going to the polls and 174 turning in absentee ballots out of the 11,918 registered voters. That’s a turnout of 12 percent.

Noting it can be “difficult” with such a large field of candidates and low voter turnout, Mr. Smith said he was just glad to put the primary behind him. He looks forward to campaigning hard for the general election.

“The goal is to move forward,” he said.

Mr. Jennings said he was a bit surprised to come so close to the veteran council members’ vote totals.

“I think the goal is just for all six candidates to move forward,” he said.

Mr. Jennings, the Jefferson County public health planner and public information officer, joined the race after a movement was started to eliminate fluoride from the city’s water supply. So far, council members have not made a decision.

Mr. Horbacz said he likes his chances for November.

“I am very satisfied,” he said. “All I could hope for is to go on to the general election, and I did. I’m very excited.”

He got involved in the race after expressing displeasure with the so-called roommate law that the council passed last winter, which involved regulating rooming and boarding houses in Residential A districts.

With such low turnout, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said, it seemed as if voters were not seeking change, but things could change drastically in November, when more people go to the polls. He also would not call it a “sweep-type thing” for the more well-known incumbents.

During the primary campaign, the Jefferson County Board of Elections made a mistake with the ballots. They indicated residents could vote for four of the six candidates when actually they could vote for only two.

To correct the problem, new ballots were sent out to absentee voters. The Board of Elections mailed out 299 corrected ballots, and 174 corrected ballots were returned.

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