Perez Williams Dems Choice over Nicoletti, Masterpole in Primary

Sep 13, 2017

Juanita Perez Williams addresses supporters right after winning Democratic primary
Credit WAER News

Democrats choose Jaunita Perez Williams as their nominee in the Syracuse race for mayor over the candidate party leaders choose earlier this summer.  Williams out-polled Joe Nicoletti by a 52% to 34% margin.  Marti Masterpole, the third candidate on the ballot drew about 10% of the vote in Tuesday’s primary. 

Perez Williams expressed her pride in the city, and sounded a theme of collaboration.  The former city attorney and Cuomo administration official says Syracuse welcomed her decades ago, and she wants everyone to feel the same way.

“I’m going to be that leader that stands up and invites our veterans, our refugees, our new Americans, our Latinos, our African Americans.  Whoever wants to be a part of this city, you are welcome with open arms.  We are together as one.”

Perez Williams says that means standing up for immigrants against federal immigration crackdowns such as the elimination of DACA…the deferred action for childhood arrivals program.  

She reminded her supporters that all the changes she seeks for the city are for people that might be struggling.

“From every neighborhood in this city, we can do this.  We can move forward stronger and we can win this in November to change this city for the better.”

Joe Nicoletti, with daughter at his side, speaks to supporters shortly after finding out his primary bid came up short.
Credit Scott Willis/WAER News

The Democratic Party’s designee for Syracuse mayor fell short in last night’s primary to a first-time candidate.  Joe Nicoletti says he made a fourth run for mayor because he believes in a better city.

“I still believe in this city but we have to come together if we’re going to do it.  We have to be able to work across party lines.  We have to reestablish our relationships with the Governor, with the county executive, with the county legislature and with our federal representatives.”

Nicoletti, a current councilor-at-large, says he has no regrets.  He vowed to continue to advocate for improving city schools and other improvements for residents.

"We have to restore public safety in our neighborhoods.  We have to make code enforcement work.  Just take a look around at some of these neighborhoods.  And finally, we have to demand from those that would like to build in this community that we create jobs for all the people of this community.”  

City auditor Marty Masterpole says petition troubles and limited funding kept him from running a more robust campaign, but felt he always had strong support. 

“We knew it was an uphill battle.  I wasn’t expecting it as it turned out.  I was hoping our message got to the voter better but it didn’t.  And that’s part of elections.  That’s what happens and I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and maybe do some lawn care and get back to the audit office.  It’s all good; it’s o.k.”

Masterpole says he’ll continue running his business and finish out the remaining two years on his term as auditor. 

Juanita Perez Williams supporters on primary night
Credit Lileana Pearson/WAER News

The three candidates were down from a total of six democrats who initially were vying for the nomination.  Chris Fowler, Alphonso Davis and Raymond Blackwell were unable to secure.

As it stands now on the Syracuse Mayoral ballot, Democrat Juanita Perez Williams will face Republican Laura Lavine, the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins, and Ben Walsh on the Independence, Reform, and Upstate Jobs Party lines.


In other primary races, Latoya Allen will try to keep a democrat in the 4th Syracuse Common Council seat.  She beat primary opponents Michael Greene and Christopher Montgomery.  The district has been represented by Khalid Bey, who will run for a Councilor-at-large seat in November’s election.

Three Democrat incumbent judges also won primary nods Tuesday.  James Cecile, Vanessa Bogan and Derrek Thomas will all appear on the party line, after taking the top three vote totals over challenger Frank Pelosi. 

Results of primaries for County Legislature candidates in the Conservative and Independent parties, mayoral votes in the Independent and Reform parties, and other primaries for various town positions can be found at the Onondaga County Board of Elections (Click Here)

Lileana Pearson, Odeya Pinkus and Scott Willis contributed to this report.