Ithaca, N.Y. — Sometime in 2011, Rob Flaherty gave Ithaca Common Council member Svante Myrick a ride from a political event to Myrick’s home in Collegetown.
Myrick was 23 or 24 years old. Flaherty, then an Ithaca College student, was 18 or 19. As the car neared its destination, Myrick turned to Flaherty and said, “Hey, quick question … I think I’m running for mayor.”
Flaherty would go on to become the communications director of Myrick’s campaign. Four years later, after Mayor Myrick announced today his candidacy for re-election, Flaherty recalled the challenges of the first campaign — and how they could differ from Myrick’s upcoming bid.
“The difference now is this time he’s got a record to run on,” says Flaherty, who now works in Democratic politics in Washington, D.C. “He’s got to show and will show that he’s continuing the work he did and said he would do on his first campaign.”
Flaherty reflected on joining the underdog campaign that would first defeat Tompkins County legislator Pam Mackesey in the Democratic primary and then local officials Wade Wykstra, J.R. Clairborne and Janis Kelly in the general election.
“It was exciting; it was cool. It was a chance to be part of something,” Flaherty says in an interview on Tuesday of that race four years ago.
Of course, this cycle is different. Myrick no longer has to convince that he can be mayor — just that he should continue to be in the position.
“I mean, look, Svante has done a great job of becoming a symbol and institution in the community, and he’s done that by focusing on the work he said he was going to do in his first campaign,” Flaherty says.
“I think, obviously, he’s still going to work for it. Nothing is taken for granted.”
Previous Ithaca Voice coverage of Mayor Myrick
In Ithaca mayor’s tiny and rural hometown, the ‘myth’ of Myrick grows – “He’s the small town boy who made it big.” Ithaca Voice
Entering 4th year, Mayor Myrick defends ‘complete revolution’ in Ithaca government – Mayor Svante Myrick said he has led a “complete revolution” of Ithaca’s government over the last three years that has both transformed the city for the better and triggered an occasionally fierce backlash. Ithaca Voice
Who opposes Mayor Myrick’s ‘transformation’ of Ithaca, and why? – “I think we’re going too fast, and too big,” one Council member says. Ithaca Voice
Mayor Myrick on 4 big issues, including the Commons, truck safety, and Cornell – “This problem happens often enough with tragic enough consequences that we have to act on it. But we have to be careful not to overreact,” Myrick says of truck safety. Ithaca Voice
In sweeping speech, Mayor Myrick says new Commons will be best downtown in U.S. – In an address that drew from sources ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Fyodor Dostoevsky. Ithaca Voice
Citing rise in overdoses, Mayor Myrick says new drug policy ‘desperately needed’ for Ithaca – A rise in overdoses. More property crime. Racially disparate results. Ithaca Voice
5 reasons Mayor Myrick is excited for Ithaca’s new hospitality training program – Mayor Svante Myrick announced a new program this week to train Ithaca workers in the hospitality business. Ithaca Voice
Update: Myrick steers donors to campaign account for Ithaca mayoral race – Mayor Svante Myrick on Monday steered donors to a campaign account registered with the state for an Ithaca mayoral race. Ithaca Voice
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick announces re-election bid – “Today I am announcing that I am ready to work hard to win four more years as Mayor of the City of Ithaca.” Ithaca Voice