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Cross-party endorsements create complicated comptroller race in Utica

The comptroller race in the city of Utica has taken an odd turn. At an event last week, the city's Democrat Mayor Robert Palmieri endorsed Independence Party candidate William Morehouse, rather than fellow Democrat Jim Zecca.

In a written statement, Palmieri explained that he believes says the city needs to elect people who “believe in working together and have the city of Utica's best interest at heart.”

Zecca says even though he doesn't have the support of most of Utica's elected Democrats, it hasn’t derailed his campaign.

"I feel that the most important endorsement is the endorsement of the people of Utica. I have proven that in the previous elections. I have proven that in the recent primary and I hope to prove that in the general election coming up," said Zecca.

Zecca defeated Morehouse in September's Democratic primary, but Morehouse secured a spot on the Independence line.

"I am not going to complain. I am not going to whine about it. I am doing my job and getting out there, speaking to the people. The people will make the final endorsement on Election Day and that is what's most important," said Zecca.

Zecca did receive a different endorsement – one from the Oneida County Conservative Party, which was unable to field a candidate in the race. The Republicans also do not have a candidate running for comptroller.

Zecca and Morehouse are both currently on the Utica Common Council – Morehouse is president and Zecca is councilor-at-large. Their relationship on the council has been strained in recent months.