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Graham would stop at five terms

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Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said if he wins his Nov. 8 race, his fifth term would likely be his last.

“Yeah, I think that’s the case,” Mr. Graham said. “I thought long and hard about running this time. I decided to because of the circumstances. I think I’m still young.”

Mr. Graham, 56, won election for the first time in 1991, and has run in every race since then. He lost in 1999, but came back in 2003. Ever a student of history and politics, Mr. Graham said he doesn’t want to be the Erastus Corning of Watertown. Corning was the mayor of Albany for 40 years.

Instead, he’d rather mold his career after Richard G. Lockwood, the mayor in Ogdensburg for five terms.

“That seems an appropriate bridge,” he said. He added, jokingly: “Maybe I’ll run for Congress.”

Mr. Graham responded with uncharacteristic brevity when asked if he has thought about what he would do if he lost the race. “No,” he said.

Confident? “You’ve got to be,” Mr. Graham said.

The position is part-time. Mr. Graham owns a bar on Pearl Street, and, outside of campaign season, hosts a noon talk show on WATN-FM.

Mr. Graham’s opponent has made his longevity an issue in the campaign. Many of Councilman Jeffrey M. Smith’s supporters have said that the mayor has done an admirable job, but 20 years is long enough to be mayor.

Asked whether he’d limit himself, Mr. Smith said: “I wouldn’t make this a 20-year career.”

He said he’d serve three terms at the most.

Mr. Smith has also said that if he loses the upcoming race, he will retain his seat on City Council.

The election is on Nov. 8, which will be Mr. Smith’s 42nd birthday.

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