Syracuse, N.Y. — If Khalid Bey wins November’s election, he would make historical past as Syracuse’s first Black mayor.
Already, although, Bey has achieved one thing no different Black politician has: He’s received a serious get together nomination for the town’s high job.
Bey, 50, received the Democratic Get together’s nomination in a nail-biter of a major race that wasn’t determined till every week after polls closed. With greater than 6,000 ballots solid, Bey eked out a win over Michael Greene by simply 34 votes. The race was in the end determined by absentee ballots.
Now, Bey begins the ultimate stretch of the race, the place he’s up in opposition to Mayor Ben Walsh, an impartial, and Republican Janet Burman. That race will mark the primary time metropolis Democrats (or Republicans) have chosen a Black candidate as their contender for the mayor’s workplace.
That doesn’t imply Bey is the primary Black candidate to run.
In 2009, the town’s Republican Committee picked Otis Jennings, who’s Black, to run for mayor. Nonetheless, Steve Kimatian compelled a major and in the end received the get together’s nomination. Jennings appeared on the poll in November with the Conservative Get together — a minor get together within the metropolis — and received simply 10% of the vote, in the end dropping to Stephanie Miner.
However Bey’s nomination is historic as a result of he’s arguably the primary Black candidate with a critical shot at successful the mayor’s seat. Juanita Perez Williams made comparable historical past when she received the Democratic major in 2017. She was the town’s first Latina candidate for mayor. Walsh received that election in November.
Democrats and Republicans are the highest political forces within the metropolis, and at all times have been. The events traded management of metropolis politics for 100 years earlier than Walsh was elected in 2017.
In actual fact, within the metropolis’s 173-year historical past, solely three of Syracuse’s 54 mayors have come from different events: Elias Leavenworth, the second mayor of Syracuse, was a Whig; Louis Will, elected in 1914, was a Progressive; and Walsh is an impartial.
What does that historic alternative imply to Bey?
“It means so much to me, primarily due to what it means to different folks,” he stated Tuesday. “…It means so much for the town of Syracuse. It makes a press release about the place we’re on the course of evolution, I feel, and it’s actually nice for my household, nice for my youngsters. It’s actually a really thrilling time.”
Bey has leaned on his deep Syracuse roots up to now within the marketing campaign, arguing that he is aware of the town, its folks and its points higher than anybody. He grew up in Syracuse’s Central Village and lives now on Kennedy Road on the South Aspect. He’s spent 10 years on the Widespread Council.
Regardless of the backing of the town’s dominant political get together, Bey has a tricky combat forward if he needs to win in November.
Bey has enrollment numbers and get together politics on his aspect – greater than half of the town’s registered voters are Democrats. Walsh has the facility of incumbency, identify recognition and cash working for him – he’s obtained almost $400,000 in his marketing campaign account whereas Bey has simply greater than $2,700. Every may have a look at himself because the underdog and never be mistaken.
Bey acknowledged as a lot Tuesday, however stated he’s prepared for the problem.
“We’ve to arrange and never take something as a right,” he stated. “It’s very powerful to unseat an incumbent, particularly one which has a good quantity of likability that’s very powerful to beat. However we’ve got a job to do, so let’s get on the market and make our case to the folks.”