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


Follow The Ithaca Voice on Facebook | Twitter

Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.