Urban CNY Special Report: How the Ben Walsh Campaign Won the Syracuse Mayoral Election 


  • How Did This Happen to the Democratic Party?
  • How the Walsh Team Built a Winning Coalition
  • Howie Hawkins and The Green Party: Winning by Losing

Walsh Wins Syracuse Mayoral Race, Gives Inspirational Message, “Syracuse’s Best Days Are Ahead”

The excitement has been building for this Mayoral Election and now it’s finally over. Syracuse, a city that former-Mayor, Lee Alexander turned Democratic, has elected an Independent candidate; a feat that hasn’t occurred in Syracuse, since 1913.

Ruthnie Angrand, opened the Walsh Victory proceedings by singing, “Glory” followed by an inspirational speech.

The Marriott Downtown Syracuse was the venue and the Grand Ballroom filled, almost to capacity. As the evening progressed an atmosphere of absolute elation began taking place before the results had reached 18 percent of the vote counted. Supporter energy was bouncing off the chandeliers as a snaking conga line made its way around the Grand Ballroom to Michael Jackson’s, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.

Meanwhile, supporters were taking turns peeking at urbancny.com’s Election Results Station. It was unplanned, after we learned that Spectrum Cable News election results lagged behind the Onondaga County Board of Elections results.  Therefore, results were being watched in real-time and the curious would come by every 10 minutes or so to watch the numbers trickle in.

There was a bit of a scare when, with only 1,000 votes counted, Juanita Perez Williams leapt ahead in early vote counting. I shouted out the numbers to the waiting people as they were being tallied.

Onondaga County Board of Election Results Feed

As the night wore on with every update to the results, as the total vote was reaching, 18 percent, 22 percent, 60 percent and 80 percent. It became clearer, as the night progressed that Ben Walsh had to hold a lead, as various City Election Districts results were posted. Walsh’s lead finally held, and began to grow as more ballots were tallied.

At the end of the evening, Ben Walsh had 13,013 votes, winning 54.3 percent of the vote. Juanita Perez Williams, received 9,105 votes, giving her 38 percent.

There were lots of moving parts, with newly-minted, Campaign Manager Kristy Brightman-Frame at the reigns. She did an excellent job managing the Walsh campaign. Her optimism complemented Walsh’s calm demeanor throughout the campaign.

Urban CNY was given exclusive unprecedented access to the candidate and the campaign. For complete coverage of the Ben Walsh Campaign and his path to victory, see the series below chronicling the rise of this unexpected Mayoral Candidate who was just given a mandate to govern. We answer the question, How did this happen? Find out by reading our in-depth reporting on the campaign below.

How Did This Happen to the Democratic Party?

Loose Lips Sink Campaigns

The most transformative day in the Mayoral Race occurred at the Dems for Ben event on Westcott Street. Juanita Perez Williams’ supporters were heckling Ben as he spoke and had to be asked to tone it down. They were heckling in Spanish which caught many by surprise, as people were trying to decipher what was being said…Read More

How the Walsh Team Built a Winning Coalition

Ben Walsh has been cultivating relationships with diverse groups and individuals for more than a campaign season. People have walked up unsolicited, telling this writer Ben Walsh stories. One has Ben Walsh joining those working under the bridge, feeding the hungry and homeless distributing bag lunches. Another with the Muslim community after Ramadan, they were looking for him, when they found him he was assisting with the cleanup. At St. Lucy’s Movie Night….Read More

Howie Hawkins and The Green Party Winning by losing

Perhaps the surprise of the evening was the fact that The Green Party Candidate for Mayor beat the Republican candidate. Howie Hawkins received 4 percent of the vote, for the first time in 60 years a minor party candidate has beaten a…Read More