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Churchill: Election shows limits of Schenectady rebirth

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SCHENECTADY — What the heck happened in Schenectady?

How did an unknown activist come so close to knocking off Mayor Gary McCarthy, the entrenched two-term Democrat?

You would think, after all, that Schenectady is doing great, if you confine your visits to the city's downtown. New apartments are rising, attracting wealthier newcomers. Restaurants are thriving. There's energy that was unimaginable a decade or two ago, when Schenectady seemed to be missing out on the urban rebirth happening around the country.

It's the same in Troy, where the thump of pounding nails is the sound of the summer. Downtown is thriving. The progress is awesome to behold.

But in both cities, results from last week's primaries suggest there's discontent away from the downtowns, out in the neighborhoods.

In Schenectady, Thearse McCalmon, 41, came out of nowhere to give McCarthy, 61, the scare of his electoral life. As I write this, McCalmon continues to hope absentee ballots will close a 65-vote gap and carry her to victory.

The election wasn't nearly as close in Troy, where Mayor........

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