Rowback tops King for city mayor

Winning Gloversville mayoral candidate Bill Rowback is all smiles at his campaign headquarters Tuesday night at Harold’s Restaurant in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

GLOVERSVILLE — Republican Bill Rowback defeated incumbent Gloversville Mayor Dayton King Tuesday, spoiling his re-election to a third term and ending a sometimes-contentious race for city mayor.

The city firefighter, a 1984 graduate of Gloversville High School, said he is ready to tackle the challenges of city government for four years, starting in January.

“I feel great,” Rowback said. “I’m really excited that the residents of the city of Gloversville believe in me.”

The political newcomer referred to his “great team” — a campaign led by Karl Baia — for his victory.

“We tried to make everything positive,” Rowback said.

The 51-year-old Rowback ended up with 1,800 votes to King’s tally of 1,490, according to an unofficial tally from the Fulton County Board of Elections. There are 174 absentee ballots to be counted in Gloversville, but not enough to push King over the top if he received them all.

King, of Seventh Avenue, who had run as a Conservative, had some thoughts on the race Tuesday night from his campaign’s headquarters at the Eccentric Club in Gloversville.

“I’m certainly disappointed with the numbers,” he said. “I thought it was going to be a close race. For me, I feel good with accomplishments that we made and the time in office I met some awesome people. I’ll work the rest of the year certainly and I’ll support Mayor-Elect Rowback. For me personally, I’ll spend a lot more time with my family.”

The new mayor-elect, who paced as the results trickled in at campaign headquarters at Harold’s Restaurant, said he wants the city to move ahead. He gave a long embrace to his wife, Rosaland, after the victory and fielded a concession call from his opponent.

“Thank you, Dayton, it was a nice race,” Rowback said on his cell phone to King.

Someone yelled out: “No bashing of Dayton on Facebook.”

Rowback, who resides on First Avenue, was stern throughout the night as results came in, but lightened up after the final numbers were in. He was accompanied at Harold’s by his mother, Mary Rowback, and brother, Bobby Rowback, along with a host of well-wishers. He beat King handily in his own Third Ward by a 517-360 margin. But in King’s 5th Ward, Rowback only won narrowly: 405-384.

Earlier in the night, Rowback met with Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, who he will now be working with on grants and legislation through the Gloversville Common Council.

Rowback had defeated King in a Sept. 12 primary, 524-472, to capture the GOP nomination for mayor. But King was on the Conservative Party line. Rowback’s name also appeared on the independent Moving Forward line.

The mayor-elect Rowback grew up in the Meco area and attended Gloversville schools. He served in the U.S. Navy before joining the city’s fire department, where he has been for the past 28 years.

Rowback said this morning that his first priority is to work on relations between city employees and city government.

“I want a better relationship through all the departments,” she said. “I want it to be a team. If you have any concerns, talk to me.”

During the campaign, he said he wants to see a planned commercial strip access road the city has planned that would run from Steele Avenue to South Kingsboro Avenue.

Rowback’s plans include the potential reopening of Littauer Pool, making repairs to the rail trail and public parks and holding craft fairs in conjunction with the farmer’s market. He said he wants to create a trolley system in the city that could run through downtown and out to Parkhurst Field, which is planning a major renovation. He is also proposing an 11 p.m. curfew for those 16 years of age and younger.

King said Tuesday night that he will work the rest of the year “certainly,” and support Rowback.

“For me personally, I’ll spend a lot more time with my family,” the mayor said. “I do have a successful real-estate business with CMK and I think it’s really going to help me be single focused. For a long time, I had two careers and it’s going to help me really focus on my family, my faith, my Deacon at my church, I’ll have more time to spend there. I’m positive. I’m a positive guy, you never see me upset and I wish the absolute best for Mr. Rowback and his team. I did call him tonight and congratulated him and will reach out to him in the next couple of days. I’ll probably bring him into our department head meetings, let him know the kind of stuff we do. And I’m asking him to keep on a lot of our team if he can. For me, I think it’s a win either way. I like to win, obviously, I’m a competitive person, you want to win elections.”

King said he promised his family whether he wins or loses, they’re going away Friday.

“I’ve taken a one-week vacation in eight years and I think the plans are to spend some time with family and continue to serve where I can,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t get what you want because god wants something bigger and better. I’ll just thank the people who did vote for me, those who came out tonight, and people who have lived outside the city who have supported me for years. I have an awesome wife and kids I’ll get to spend more time with.”

By Patricia Older

Leave a Reply