Watertown, NY, Nov 09, 2011 — Jeff Graham was reelected to his fifth term as mayor of the city of Watertown last night. The election pitted the incumbent mayor against a longtime rival on the City Council, Jeff Smith. Joanna Richards reports.
Jeff Smith gave four-term Watertown mayor Jeff Graham a solid challenge, earning 1,803 votes to the incumbent's 1,975. But ultimately, more city voters seemed convinced by Graham's argument that the city is on the right track and a change of leadership wasn't called for.
The election was nonpartisan. The mayor sits on City Council, represents the city and performs ceremonial duties; the city manager runs the city's day-to-day affairs.
During the campaign, Graham had pointed to signs the city is doing well, such as a reduction in debt and an improved credit rating. Jeff Smith had argued that a vote for him represented fresh ideas and had put forward a number of proposals for new initiatives, including investing in green energy projects.
Both men are longtime veterans of the City Council. Jeff Graham has said this will likely be his last term as mayor, although he reserved the right to make that decision at the end of his fifth term.
For North Country Public Radio, I'm Joanna Richards in Watertown.