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Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh cruises to reelection

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Madison Ruffo
/
WRVO Public Media
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh gathered with his family and friends during a speech celebrating his victory in the 2021 race for Syracuse mayor.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh was elected to serve a second four-year term Tuesday, after defeating Democrat Khalid Bey and Republican Janet Burman.

After privately watching the unofficial election results come in with his family late Tuesday night, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh took the stage to celebrate his earning of a second term in office.

“Tonight, I thank you for giving us the opportunity to continue this journey together,” he said to a crowd of people gathered at the Marriott in Downtown Syracuse.

After taking a moment to thank his supporters, Walsh quickly began looking ahead into the next four years.

“For me, I feel like the clock is already ticking and I want to use every minute available to finish the work we started four years ago,” he said.

Some things on Walsh’s agenda include continuing citywide economic growth, increasing the graduation rate amongst city schools, building the community grid, and curbing violent crime.

Walsh, an Independent, had a sweeping lead against his opponents, securing 60% of the roughly 18,000 in-person votes in the City of Syracuse, according to unofficial results.

Burman got roughly 12% of the vote, while Bey got about 27% of the vote. Despite his loss, Bey said the people clearly have spoken.

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Ellen Abbott
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WRVO News
Democrat Khalid Bey speaks on Tuesday night in downtown Syracuse

“The majority of the people who participated in the election made their voices heard they made their decision–I respect that decision,” said Bey. “You know, for me, it's onto the next but we still have a lot to do to ensure that our city is performing in a way that it needs to.”

However, Bey did cite the low voter turnout in Syracuse as a possible contribution to his loss.

"I think turnout is the main issue,” he said. “It’s not a matter of the message not resonating. The question is for those who it did resonate with, why didn’t they turn out to make the vote go another way."

Bey is correct that there was a lower voter turnout than the last mayoral election with only 26% of registered Syracuse residents actually voting.

Bey–currently a Syracuse Common Councilmember–did not seek reelection into the council but still plans to stay involved in local politics.

Walsh spoke with both Burman and Bey before giving his celebratory speech. During the speech, he thanked them both and said he looks forward to collaborating to tackle city issues.

"I will be true to promise to collaborate always with the best interests for the people of Syracuse as my guide,” said Walsh. “And I pledge to give you my very best, every single day."

Madison Ruffo received a Master’s Degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in audio and health/science reporting. Madison has extensively covered the environment, local politics, public health, and business. When she’s not reporting, you can find Madison reading, hiking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.