First Elected Black Mayor in New YorkAP , Associated Press
Jan. 27, 1985 12:13 PM ET
MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (AP) _ Ronald A. Blackwood has become New York state's first elected black mayor, but he discounts race as a factor in the election and credits his experience in city government for the victory.
''To me, Ron Blackwood was not elected because he was black, but because the people had confidence in me,'' the four-term city council member said Friday night after the polls had closed, with returns showing him the victor over former state boxing commissioner John R. Branca.
However, Branca has refused to concede defeat and the Republicans have asked to have voting machines impounded, charging there was a discrepancy in the totals the Republicans received compared with the numbers the city clerk had.
With all 55 election districts reporting, the city clerk's figures declared Blackwood, a Democrat, the winner by 10,547 to 9,735 votes. The results will not be official until the Board of Elections certifies them.
''I was a believable candidate, I have lots of credibility - 17 years experience in city government - and I believe the people understood that,'' said Blackwood, 58.
Blackwood will fill the unexpired term of Thomas E. Sharpe Jr., who died of a stroke in October. His salary will be $57,500 as mayor of the city of 67,000.
Blackwood, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, is the first elected black mayor of a city in New York state. Peekskill, N.Y., had the state's first appointed black mayor, Richard Jackson.
Mount Vernon is the only city in suburban New York's Westchester County that is more than 50 percent black. Democrats outnumber registered Republicans more than 2 to 1 in the city.