ITHACA, N.Y. — Four years ago, Alderperson Svante Myrick faced two other local officials in the Democratic primary race for Mayor of Ithaca.
He won that race, but then again faced several competitors in the general election: a Republican, three independent candidates, and a Council member running on the Working Families’ Party line. Myrick went on to win the general election with nearly 54 percent of the vote.
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At this early date, Myrick’s path to re-election appears considerably easier than his first victory.
By June 2011, The Ithaca Times reported at the time, seven candidates had already declared their candidacies for Mayor of Ithaca.
Now, to the best of our knowledge, no candidates have emerged to challenge Myrick — either in his own party or outside of it. (Candidates for mayor have from June until early July to file petitions with the Board of Elections to run on a party line and from July until August to do so to run on an independent line, according to BOE officials.)
“He has been so formidable, I’m not surprised nobody else has as of yet sought our endorsement,” says Irene Stein, chair of the Tompkins County Democratic Committee. “I’m delighted to endorse him.”
Mayor Myrick declared his reelection bid in April and has begun hitting the campaign trail ahead of the November election.
Stein said that, four years ago, she would not have guessed that Myrick would be able to run for re-election without facing opposition candidates.
“I would have been very surprised,” Stein says. “… Given the fact that four years ago there was a three-way primary and then an independent race, it’s quite astonishing.”
Will a Republican run for mayor of Ithaca?
The Republican Party of Tompkins County has not announced a candidate for mayor, though officials would not rule out the possibility that it may at a later date.
“We still have time to find and run candidates. We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet,” says Henry Kramer, vice-chair of the Tompkins County Republican Party.
“It’s still an open question for us … We’re not committing that we’re not going to run anybody.”
Kramer said he was surprised that Myrick appears to lack a challenger for the Democratic primary, given the registration advantage of Democrats over Republicans in the city.
“Given the registration edge in the city, you think there would be multiple contenders,” Kramer said. (Janis Kelly, who ran for mayor on the Republican platform, received less than 7 percent of the vote in 2011, according to the Cornell Daily Sun’s Liz Camuti.)
Kramer said he thinks the lack of primary contenders is a bad sign for governance in the city of Ithaca. “If there’s one party with predominance, to not have any primary contest is very unhealthy,” Kramer said.
Stein, of the Democratic committee, had a different interpretation of Myrick’s evidently easier path to both the mayoral nomination and general election.
“I understand why no one is running against him: His record is formidable,” Stein said, citing the mayor’s advocacy for Ithaca in Washington, D.C., and Albany and his willingness to seek out different viewpoints. “He really has accomplished a tremendous amount.”
Stein also said that Myrick will run a campaign as if did have a competitor, noting that he had already begun the process of going door-to-door to canvas voters.
“Even if he doesn’t have an opponent, he will campaign as if he did,” Stein said. “This is an indication of the fact he has very good judgment; he recognizes that he can still be challenged.”