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DNC chair says Democrats need to come together, support Perez Williams

Tom Magnarelli
Juanita Perez Williams at campaign headquarters.

The Democratic National Committee is investing time and money into the campaign of Democratic Syracuse mayoral candidate Juanita Perez Williams. It is part of the DNC’s effort to support Democrats up and down the ticket.

DNC Chair Tom Perez said Perez Williams is exactly the type of candidate they want to help.

“Juanita is the embodiment of the American dream," Perez said. "She has been a fighter all her life. She wants to fight for residents of Syracuse to have a fair shake. We want her to get across the finish line.”

Perez said they will do that with organizers on the ground, digital engagement and smart phone texting.

"In today's world of politics, the lesson I have learned in recent memory is you never, ever take anything for granted," Perez said. "We have  an opportunity to elect the best qualified candidate in Juanita, and we have an opportunity to make some history."

Perez Williams would be the first Latina mayor elected in New York. Perez admitted, members of the Democratic Party still need to work on coming together.

“Unity doesn’t mean unanimity, we’re not going to agree on everything nor do we have to, but what we know and what we’ve seen is what unites us as Democrats far exceeds, where we have differences,” Perez said.

Some Democrats in Syracuse are split between supporting Perez Williams and her opponent, independent candidate Ben Walsh, who has been the top fundraiser in the race. Walsh, a former city-hall staffer responsible for business dealings, has received big contributions from businesses and developers. Some question if he can remain neutral.

“I had to say no to them at the city, just as much, if not more, than I’ve had to say yes," Walsh said. "I’ve delivered bad news to these people.”

A majority of the money Republican candidate Laura Lavine is relying on comes from herself, her family and Republicans in Onondaga County. Green Party mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins shares funds with other Green Party candidates running in the city.

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.