1:48am

Wed November 6, 2013
Election 2013

GOP hoping to edge out a spot on Syracuse's Common Council

Syracuse Republicans are just a few dozen votes shy of winning back a city office as a race for Common Council will come down to absentee ballots, but the rest of city hall remained solidly Democratic after Tuesday's election.

The two new faces we know of for sure on the Common Council are Chad Ryan in the Second District and Pamela Hunter in an at-large spot. Ryan won Pat Hogan’s old seat, who was term-limited, by beating Republican Alex Walsh with 59 percent of the unofficial vote.

"There’s a lot of people in the district who have dealt with me and put a lot of things near and dear to their heart in my hands," Ryan said, "and so they understand I can take care of the things I need to take care of."

Walsh says he has Ryan's phone number and will still be involved.

"If I see anything going on I’ll be sure to give him a call pretty quick; allow my voice to be heard to my common councilor," he said at the Republican Party's election party at the Palace Theater in Eastwood.

It wasn't too much of a party for the GOP. There were no balloons or patriotic streamers. A few candidates brought signs with them, but only a large American flag decorated a dark stage. There were no big victory speeches to the handful of people who showed up.

On the other side of town, Democrat Jean Kessner was elected to another term as councilor-at-large, despite not earning her party’s nomination. She says with Hunter winning as well, it will be good to have more women in the chamber, which will stand at four.

"You’re a woman, you can run for office and you can win. I think that’s a wonderful message and it makes me feel good," she said.

The contest to watch came down to the city's First District, on the north side. There, it was just 39 votes between incumbent Jake Barrett and 22-year-old Republican challenger Joe Carni as of early Wednesday morning.

Being in such a close race is familiar territory for Barrett. He only won his first election by 12 votes.

"I’m confident that things will work out, but I’m not proclaiming anything right now," Barrett said.

Absentee ballots will likely play the decider in this race. The GOP and challenger Carni didn’t concede anything Tuesday night.

"It’s not over yet," Carni said. "I appreciate everyone who went out and voted for me. And hopefully those absentees come out in my favor."

The other contested race was a rematch between Khalid Bey and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins in the Fourth District. Bey ran away to win a second term with nearly 60 percent. Hawkins says it’s too early to know if he’ll try a third time.

Bob Dougherty was unopposed and the Democrat won another term in the Third District. Nader Maroun, also a Democrat, was easily re-elected in the Fifth District. Van Robinson won without opposition to remain as council president.

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