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Race for Syracuse mayor may not be over yet

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Race for Syracuse mayor may not be over yet
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The end of the primary season is signaling an unexpectedly complicated battle ahead in the race for mayor of Syracuse. YNN's Bill Carey says Stephanie Miner still has no lock on a second term.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "Let's enjoy tonight and tomorrow we're back at it," Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.

In a city where democrats far outnumber republicans, Tuesday's primary should have resolved the race for mayor. But obstacles remain for Stephanie Miner. Democrats asked a court to block any republican nomination for mayor, claiming the GOP maneuvers to keep the spot open violated election law. The judge has tossed the claim out.

"Now, hopefully, Mayor Miner and the democrats will stop wasting taxpayer money and we can get on with our search for a candidate for mayor," said Onondaga County Republican Chairman Thomas Dadey.

No word yet on who the candidate will be.

Dadey said, "Over the next several days, I will be meeting with prospective candidates. Both republican and I will certainly meet with others who are not in our party."

One prospect is Joe Nicoletti, former common councilor and state assemblyman and a democrat who challenged Miner in a primary four years ago. Also not off the table is a potential offer to one of Miner's democratic opponents in this primary, councilor Pat Hogan, who sounded less than conciliatory as he conceded defeat.

"All that money and all that power of city hall, still only half the democrats in this city support this administration," Hogan said.

Hogan points to a soft spot for the Mayor's campaign. Comparing poll results in mid-August with voting results Tuesday, despite spending at least $100,000 on TV ads against two opponents who spent virtually nothing, most undecided voters appeared to have ended up backing Hogan or challenger Alfonso Davis.

Also ahead is a crowded November race. Ian Hunter will run on the conservative line. The Green Party is backing educator Kevin Bott, who acknowledges the media has tended to write him off.

"I don't blame you for that, because we're trying to do something unprecedented. We're trying to do something unprecedented because the crisis we face in this city and this country is unprecedented," Bott said.

The first job for Miner may be to heal party wounds, solidifying that democratic registration advantage.

"I think she's got the ability to draw on the party going forward in such a way that, again, the path for any challenger on the republican line, whether they're actually democrats or republicans, is going to be very, very narrow," said Grant Reeher of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

But the race isn't over yet. Turnout in Tuesday's Syracuse mayoral primary was below average. In all, just 6,775 voters took part in the balloting. There are more than 38,000 democrats registered in the city. That puts turnout at less than 18 percent.

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