Rye United ticket cruises to City Council victory

Rye-Dems

Democratic candidates for Rye City Council Shari Punyon, second from left, and Meg Cameron, center, pore over the incoming results on election night at their headquarters at Morgan’s Fish House on Elm Place. Photo/Liz Button

By LIZ BUTTON
The Rye United Ticket swept into office Tuesday night on a resounding wave of approval, easily distancing themselves from their Democratic and third party counterparts.

The three Republican City Council candidates scored a victory in a race that swung their way relatively early in the night. By 10 p.m., one hours after polls closed, the race was revealed to be a GOP sweep.

According to unofficial results at Rye United’s election night headquarters  at Ruby’s Oyster Bar Republican Councilwoman Julie Killian received 2,856 votes, Ter­ry McCartney 2,447 votes and Kirstin Bucci 2,388 votes.

Unoffical tallies saw Democratic City Council candidates Meg Cameron and Shari Punyon receive 1,721 and 1,393 votes respectively.

Independence Party candidate Jason Mehler, 48, finished last with 774 votes.

While Rye United’s Republi­can mayoral candidate Joe Sack sparred with independent candidate Peter Jovanovich over a range of issues during the campaign, the six candidates for City Council ran a largely frictionless race. Sack said he was proud the Rye United team kept the campaign for the council’s four open seats a positive one. The results of the race, he said, prove that “negativity doesn’t work in Rye.”

“When we first started this campaign, we were trying to think of a name and this one worked for us. I think [the name ‘Rye United’] really captured the essence of who we are and what Rye needs right now,” Sack, 45, said. “This election was the culmination of all of that. We know Rye expects a lot of from us, and we expect a lot from ourselves.”

McCartney, 50, echoed that sentiment.
“I think our campaign was very positive and professional,” he said, “We took the high road. I think the mayoral race could have been less negative, but it goes to show people in Rye don’t really like that type of politics.”

Sitting Councilwoman Killian, 53, was originally appointed to the City Council in June 2012 to fill the seat of the departing Suzanna Keith, and retained the seat in an uncontested special election last November. She said the excitement of the experience was magnified as everyone was rooting for the Rye United team.

McCartney and Bucci, 41, said they got involved in the race, in part, because, as members of the Rye Golf Club they were concerned with the ramifications of the financial scandal uncovered in the fall of 2012 in which club members were allegedly robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the former general manager Scott Yandrasevich.

The two Rye United runningmates said they were looking forward to serving on the City Council and bringing integrity back to Rye, as their campaign slogan states.

The loss was a clear-cut one for the two Democratic candidates Punyon, 47, and Came­ron, 59. Democratic Party chairman Rod Brown said that the two political newcomers should be congratulated for running a great campaign that made for a higher than usual Democratic turnout.

“A lot of voters came out, which is a lot better than the last election where Democrats ran in Rye,” he said.

Cameron and Punyon both said they were in a good position to run for the next election if either chose to.

“I think we ran a good campaign and the Democrats have nothing to be ashamed of,” Cameron said.

Now that the race is over, the makeup of the new City Council is uncertain since the newly formed administration has the opportunity to possibly appoint two new members upon being sworn in in January.

The mayor-elect and the rest of the Rye United ticket will join Republican Councilwoman Laura Brett, who has two years left to her term, on the City Council.

In addition, if Democratic Cou­nc­ilw­o­­man Catherine Park­er, who had been serving her second four-year council term, wins the District 7 County Legislator race against Republican real estate developer and attorney John Verni on Tuesday night, this would create another open spot .

Members of the Rye City Council are elected to serve four-year terms as unpaid volunteers.
Contact: liz@hometwn.com