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Independent candidate for Syracuse mayor leads in fundraising

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Independent candidate for mayor of Syracuse, Ben Walsh.

Independent candidate Ben Walsh is leading the Syracuse mayoral race in terms of fundraising. That does not concern the designated Democratic candidate.

Walsh, 38, has raised more than $250,000 so far.

“Running as an independent, I knew that it was going to be important to keep up with the pack, if not get out ahead of the pack when it came to fundraising, to try and level the playing field,” Walsh said.

He has spent more than $80,000 on a campaign office and manager as well as digital marketing, campaign materials, yard signs, pens and buttons.

Credit Walsh for Mayor Facebook
Independent candidate for Syracuse mayor Ben Walsh's campaign logo.

Walsh signs can be seen around downtown, featuring a geometric rendering of the Syracuse skyline by a local artist.

"We've gone out of our way to try to spend as much money as we possibly can locally," Walsh said. "Sticking with the independence theme, we've tried to go out of our way to do things differently, to do things in an authentic Syracuse kind of way."

This does not worry designated Democratic candidate Joe Nicoletti who has raised a little more than half of what Walsh has.

“He’s been raising money for a year, I just started,” Nicoletti said.

Contributions to Walsh's campaign were made as early as October of last year. Almost all of the contributions to Nicoletti came in the last few months. Nicoletti has been more frugal with his spending. He is facing a Democratic primary from four other candidates in September.

“This isn’t my first time around the rodeo,” Nicoletti said.

This is Nicoletti’s fourth time running for mayor. He said he’s pacing himself.

"We don't want to tire everybody out so early in the summer," Nicoletti said. "We will have the necessary funds to carry on this campaign."

Democrats outnumber all other political parties combined in terms of registered voters in Syracuse as of April, according to the Onondaga County Board of Elections. That means Walsh will likely need some Democrats to vote for him if he’s going to win. Republican candidate Laura Lavine and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins are also running for mayor.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.