The conventional wisdom is that without a republican challenger this fall, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner is virtually assured of a second term. But the mayor still has challengers. The Conservative Party is offering Ian Hunter as its candidate. The Green Party's contender is Kevin Bott. YNN's Bill Carey says the Greens are making it clear they intend to run a hard campaign.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- In a city where democrats outnumber every other party, the approach for any other party is sign up more voters. The Green Party is taking the challenge, hoping it can enroll more supporters for its local candidates this fall.
With republicans offering no candidate for the city's top job, the group says it will not allow democrat incumbent Stephanie Miner to go unchallenged.
"The Greens, we see ourselves as the second party in Syracuse, because the republicans, they're not going to mount a challenge to the Democratic Party," said Ursula Rozum, Green Party Organizer.
The leaders of the Green Party say they have a message that resonates with voters. The issue, though, is getting voters to hear that message.
Kevin Bott wants debates to get his positions out. But the mayor, with no major party opposition, doesn't seem eager.
"We have just not been able to get confirmation from Kyle or anyone from the campaign that you'd be willing to debate," Bott said.
"The people of the city are going to hear. They've heard this morning, they've heard this afternoon, they're hearing three times tonight. So we'll get back to you," said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
Bott said, "But they're hearing your philosophy."
"Well, you had a letter to the editor this morning and you've had other stuff going on," Miner said.
"But you have to admit that having a televised debate or a radio debate would reach many more of the residents of Syracuse than a meeting at a church. Not that this isn't important," Bott said.
Miner replied. "It's very important and, Kevin, I've done that and I go to where I'm asked to go and I do what I have to do and there's just a reality about, there's just so many hours in the day."
"If the people don't have a chance to listen to differing viewpoints and perspectives and visions for the future of our city, you know, essentially we're saying the race is over and the people don't have a choice," Bott said.
The Greens cannot compete in paid media. Their county party has only has about $4,000 in the bank, 40 times less than Miner's campaign treasury. So expect to hear more calls for debates and to see more Green Party organizers on the street.
Rozum said, "Nobody ever said it was easy to be an insurgent third party."
The last time the Green Party made a push for the mayor's post was 2005. In that race, candidate Howie Hawkins drew close to five percent of the vote.