GENEVA — Steve Valentino is the city’s new mayor.
Valentino, a Democrat and City Council veteran, handily defeated Mark Salvatore Pitifer, running on the Republican line, 1,569 to 1,088, in unofficial results from the Ontario County Board of Elections Tuesday night.
The race featured two longtime friends, who vowed to run campaigns focused only on the issues, and both acknowledged that is what played out over the course of the election.
It was a good night overall for city Democrats, who were ahead in six of nine races, including mayor, as of Tuesday evening.
“I’m just excited with the results,” said Valentino. “You never know how it’s going to go.”
He lauded the hard work from everyone involved in the campaign, but believed his experience as a longtime city council member with a board that was to have at least seven new members loomed large with voters.
“People wanted the continuity,” said Valentino.
Still, the mayor-elect said he was “shocked” by the wide margin.
As for the next Council, Valentino said he hopes to get this group together ahead of January, when the new Council takes over.
“I think it’s going to be very exciting and very challenging,” he said, adding that he expects the next Council to have robust debates on the issues.
The one thing they have in common, said Valentino, is that “they all want to make Geneva a better place.”
He noted that Pitifer was particularly gracious in defeat, coming down to congratulate him at Democratic headquarters on East Castle Street.
Pitifer, in turn, said Valentino is “going to be a fantastic mayor.”
He believed his status as an registered independent, not a Republican, may have played a role in his loss.
“I’m really somebody in the middle (between the parties),” he said.
Still, said Pitifer, “I thought I would do better than I did.”
In Council results:
• In Ward 1, Tom Burrall, running on the Democratic line, defeated Republican Antonio Gomez, 247-119.
• In Ward 2, Republican Bill Pealer defeated Democrat Valerie Mallard, 387-253.
• In Ward 3, Democrat Jan Regan defeated Republican Don Cass, a former city mayor and councilor, 392-272.
• In Ward 4, Democrat Ken Camera captured his third term, defeating Evelyn Buisch, who was running on the Republican line, 279-150.
• In Ward 5, Laura Salamendra was leading Republican Bryan Housel, 138-126.
• In Ward 6, John Pruett, running on the Republican line, was ahead of Juanita Aikens, who was endorsed by the Democrats, 126-114.
• In the race for two at-large seats on City Council, Republican Frank Gaglianese III and Democrat Anthony Noone are the winners.
Noone was the top vote-getter with 1,448 votes, while Gaglianese garnered 1,343. The other two candidates, Democrat Tamarie Cataldo and Republican Ben Vasquez, got 1,112 and 987 votes, respectively.