It’s election day. And here in Syracuse, we’re going to the polls to elect a new mayor.
Thank God. Our current mayor, Stephanie Miner – or as I call her the Minor Mayor – is thankfully finishing up her time in office.
And this morning, for the first time since 2000, I did not vote for a Republican.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I did vote for Republicans (if there were any) in down-ballot races.
But I did not vote for the Republican candidate for Mayor of Syracuse.
Instead, I cast my vote for Independent candidate Ben Walsh.
And something tells me, I am among a large percentage of Syracuse residents who plan to do the same.
Syracuse is a solidly blue city.
In fact, Syracuse is so blue, it looks like it’s oxygen-deprived.
It’s so blue, any song by Billie Holiday would make a fine city anthem.
The Democrat candidate, Juanita Perez Williams, is such a left-wing hack, she makes Stephanie Minor look competent.
And because Syracuse is such a reliably blue city, Perez Williams clearly thought she has this election in the bag.
But I’m guessing she doesn’t anymore.
Syracuse is not a major metropolitan area. And, thanks to eight years of mismanagement by Stephanie Miner, it is not an economic powerhouse for the state of New York.
But despite all that, over the last couple weeks, major Democrat luminaries have been piling on endorsements for Perez Williams.
Including Joe Biden.
Now, if Juanita had this election in the bag, why would she need these major Democrat endorsements?
Two words: Ben Walsh.
Walsh is the son of former Republican Congressman Jim Walsh who served this district for sixteen years. His grandfather, William Walsh was Syracuse Mayor from 1961 to 1969.
So Ben’s roots run deep here in the Salt City.
Ben’s campaign has stressed a need for the city to unite – regardless of party – in order to lift our economy out of the freefall it’s been in for years.
In that regard, Ben’s campaign has been about solutions and an honest assessment of the problems this city faces – including rising crime, crippling poverty in minority neighborhoods, and fleeing businesses.
On top of that, The Post Standard, the city’s only paper – and a solidly Democrat-leaning publication at that – did not endorse Juanita.
Instead, they endorsed Ben Walsh.
I kinda saw that coming. Just a couple weeks ago, the Post Standard ran a story about Juanita’s shifty dealings when she worked for Mayor Miner.
And suddenly Juanita’s lock on this election is looking less and less locky.
Now, she may still pull it off – Syracuse being deeply blue and all.
But I’m thinking Ben has a very good chance to defeat her.
Democrats always signal when they’re in trouble.
And these big-name endorsements in the final weeks of the campaign, to me, are a sign that internal polling in the Perez Williams campaign isn’t as rosy as they had hoped.
Walsh is drawing support across the political spectrum – including among staunch Democrats. And this hasn’t set well with Perez Williams.
In fact, back in September, Walsh held a Democrats for Walsh event and Juanita’s campaign people turned up to heckle and kick up a fuss.
You see, Democrats are not allowed to vote for anyone but the Democrat. And the fact that Walsh is garnering support from those in Juanita’s party is concerning the Perez Williams campaign.
And well it should.
At last polling, Walsh had caught up with Perez Williams – polling only two percent behind. And that’s well within the margin of error.
We’ll see what happens after polls close tonight.
But if you live in Syracuse, get out and vote this election day. And if you planned to vote for the Republican Laura Levine, I urge you to reconsider. Levine is solid candidate to be sure. But she has absolutely no chance of defeating Perez Williams. And after eight years of the Minor Mayor, defeating Perez Williams has to be the priority.
So vote for Independent candidate Ben Walsh.
And let’s breathe some oxygen back into blue, blue Syracuse.
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