Let’s move forward now

As one of our sister papers said in an editorial, it is interesting to see how last year’s bitterly divisive presidential election affected this year’s local elections.

While in the North Country they saw an overall politeness, and while there were minor exceptions, most of their candidates managed to get through the campaign season without saying anything that might prompt grudges. That is refreshing after last year’s clash sunk American politics to new depths of rudeness

But here in Gloversville, the political mayoral race was not anywhere near polite and played out for everyone to see on social media.

One candidate’s supporters and own son seemingly stalked the incumbent, photographing him while shopping and doing business in town and posting everything on social media, questioning his motives. Who doesn’t go to the grocery store in the middle of the day or visit someone in town? One video clip from a relative of the challenger shows him referring to the mayor as a cartoon character from the early ’60s.

But the mayor himself took the mayoral race to a new level on social media. At one point, he had someone video tape him while he spoke with the opposing candidate on the phone, unbeknownst to the candidate, and justified it with New York law that it is legal to tape someone as long as one of the people know the taping is being done. It may be legal, but it was not good sportsmanship.

There were many examples of the mayor using social media to bash his opponent, but one of the most disturbing was in a live radio broadcast debate. It was dismaying to listen to the mayor of our city lead the opposing candidate into a blindside with information only available in a personnel file and then justify it by saying personnel files were public information.

No sir, information in a personnel file is not public information.

Suffice to say, we hope all of that is now in the past.

Mayor Dayton King showed absolute grace when he called Bill Rowback on election night to concede the race and congratulate him on his win.

He was polite, cordial and respectful, as was Rowback’s response.

We only hope that respect and cooperative relationship continues as the torch is passed. King has the opportunity to help Rowback make the transition smoothly and with as much cooperation as possible. If he doesn’t, it is the citizens of Gloversville who will ultimately pay the price.

As for the future, we hope the many candidates already vying for next November’s congressional election take note. We’d like them to focus their efforts on promoting themselves and saying what they would do in the face of American and Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties issues. To demonize the incumbent — or the challengers — is the cheap and easy path. It’s harder to explain how one would do things better — but that’s what voters want.

It’s a long, long campaign, like the 2016 presidential race was. We suspect voters don’t want to go through that again, on a regional level. But that’s up to the candidates.