ITHACA, N.Y. –– Mayoral candidate Adam Levine was left disappointed as the final votes were counted Tuesday night. 

The We Party challenger sat with close friends in the Buffalo Street GreenStar Market as the results came in. Levine lost to incumbent Svante Myrick, earning 672 votes to Myrick’s 2,275. He reflected on the six months he spent campaigning, and what he’ll do now that it’s over. 

“To run for mayor again, we just couldn’t be winging it. We got almost 700 votes just winging it, with no money. We would have to have enough structure and funding to run a real campaign,” Levine said. “Right now, I’ve got to find a good job. I’ll always be involved in community activism.” 

Levine first got involved in the mayoral race based on advice from community members and a union leader, who Levine wouldn’t name but said had initially offered him financial backing if he got his name on the ballot, but ended up backing out. 

“I thought, now I have to run because that will be enough to run a real campaign,” Levine said. “When (the union leader) ghosted me, it hurt, but I was on the ballot already and for me there’s no quitting.”

Sitting at GreenStar with him to await his fate, was his long-time friend and former co-worker at CollegeTown Cab, Margaret Black. 

“I moved down to Florida briefly for a year and a half and we stayed in touch. He was one of the big reasons I moved back,” said Black. “He’s one of the big community makers…Adam has this magical ability that he can listen to people who have very different viewpoints from him… He actually likes listening to them and internalizes what they say.” 

As far as her involvement in the campaign she said, “Mostly it’s just been emotional support.”

Levine ran on a far-left socialist platform, advocating for workers co-ops, affordable housing and quality elder care in the community. Three weeks ago he quit his job working as a valet to campaign full-time. He made lawn signs and held a community meet and greet at Sacred Root Kava Bar on Nov. 3. 

When asked how he could’ve better achieved his campaign goals Levine replied, “you pay people. I have no paid campaign staff. There’s two volunteers that have been with me all the way, but they weren’t full-time.”

Levine blames a lot of the shortcomings of the campaign on the lack of time and money that himself and his volunteers had to offer, as well as a lack of experience with what it takes to run. 

“I had to work, and my two volunteers had to work so it was basically weekends for a while,” he said. “There’s good local people with a lot of talent and a lot of skills…There are plenty of good people that hate their jobs and would have loved to come work for us. But that became not a consideration pretty fast.”

Levine’s two volunteers that helped him with his campaign were local musician London McDaniel and local service industry worker Dominique Cataldi. 

McDaniel canvassed for Levine, hung signs and gave advice. Cataldi, who showed up to GreenStar just before results came in, helped keep Adam on track and organized. 

“She is a great timing and organization person,” Levine said. “In a way, me and her working together is like having a complete brain.” 

Although she was busy –– she had just gotten off her shift before meeting Levine at GreenStar –– Cataldi had a lot of passion for the campaign and wants to continue to support the middle and lower class communities in Ithaca. 

“Our lives are really hectic and awful and busy sometimes but that does not mean that we can’t set aside time to take care of the things that we believe in,” said Catalidi. “Or to put efforts towards things that matter in the community because we can’t use the state of our suffering as a reason not to do things to better ourselves.” 

When asked if she would get involved in another campaign she said, “I’m personally not going to do anything like that. Not anytime (soon). Maybe if Adam is doing something again or we talk about doing things that were more community programs that are not necessarily working directly for the city.”

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com