This is a local election year, so hold on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Democrats struggle to gain seats on the Onondaga County Legislature, an elective body Republicans rule with impunity. The city is the democrats to lose, which they did in the election of 2017. While maintaining their dominance on the Common Council the Democrats lost the Mayoral Election. Ben Walsh’s campaign to become Mayor was at first seen as a longshot. By the end of the campaign, the man who ran as a lifelong Independent won the election. Walsh took office on January 1, 2018 as the first independent mayor in the city’s history and the second without major party support.
This time will be different. A number of people have expressed interest in running for Mayor. While Democratic Common Councilor Michael Green received the party endorsement, he will most likely be challenged by Khalid Bey, currently serving as Councilor-At-Large. The primary will pit an activist against a traditional Democrat. Given the strength shown this past summer, this may be the time when those inspired by Bay’s message of creating a city “for all of us” could make history, the first Black major party candidate for Syracuse Mayor. Bey’s implied in published reports that Walsh is a transitional Mayor, good for his time, but no longer required.
In the 2017 election, Ben Walsh became Syracuse Mayor by winning 54% of the vote. Juanita Perez Williams (D) 38.1%, Laura Lavine(R) 2.5%, Howie Hawkins (G) 4.1%, and Joe Nicoletti (WOR) 1.0% .
Republican Janet Burman has announced, made some unflattering comments about the state of affairs in the city of Syracuse. So far, she’s not generated excitement as a candidate. The pending removal of the Columbus Monument has given some air to forces formed against the re-election of Ben Walsh. If she taps into that anger, she may generate more than the 2.5% the last Republican received from Syracuse voters. Given unforeseen dynamics of the Mayoral race anything could happen. If Democrats return to their old patterns of voting, and republicans garner more than a meager 2.5%, a combination of factors could end Walsh’s presence as Syracuse Mayor.
The Common Council will be interesting as longtime City Clerk John P. Copanas, has tossed his hat in the ring for Common Council First District. Rumored to be already exercising immense power through institutional knowledge, Copanas could run the Council if elected. Nicknamed the “13th Common Councilor” long ago. According to a source the City Clerk told a potential opponent to “drop out, I have the party endorsement locked up”. He’s not the only one leveraging their weight, as a second Council Member reportedly dissuaded a first-time candidate that “other’s already have the nomination, locked up.” A pox on both sides as first-time office seekers have been “strongly” encouraged not to run by some of the entrenched office holding forces within the city Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party has selected their candidates and there will be several Primary challenges, for example Councilor-At-Large, as it seems to be the hot ballot spot this election cycle. Democratic Activist(s), Alfonzo Davis and Walt Dixie have both expressed interest in running for Councilor-At-Large. The Party selected Rasheada Caldwell and recently appointed, Ronnie White Jr. for their designation.
On the Onondaga County Legislature Democrat Vernon M. Williams, Jr. will be primaried by Garland Funeral Home President, Charles Garland, last time the race was close.
If history is any indication, there will be some upsets on Primary Day.