Hawkins on Walsh: ‘He ran the campaign I should have run’

Nov 20, 2017

Former Green Party Syracuse mayoral candidate Howie Hawkins said votes for his party were below expectations this year, the lowest they been since before 2009. None of the party's candidates for mayor or city council were elected. But Hawkins said the Green Party platform received a lot of acclaim throughout the campaign.

On the night of his election win, Independent Mayor-elect Ben Walsh praised Hawkins.

“I love Howie," Walsh said. "Howie is the embodiment of a community activist. He speaks openly about issues of race, segregation and inequality with a directness that is necessary if we are to confront the real challenges facing our city.”

But Hawkins ended up receiving only four percent of the vote for mayor.

“A lot of people were praising me for my debates and what I was saying and the platform, but they didn’t think a vote was worth doing,” Hawkins said.

He said he received positive feedback on his plan for a progressive city income tax to raise revenue. But he also said voters were torn between Walsh, and the Democratic candidate Juanita Perez Williams.

"Ben took advantage of another thing, that is disgust with the partisan bickering," Hawkins said. "People get sick of that, they want positive results."

Hawkins said if he had more time, he would have done what Walsh did and talk with community leaders about why his platform made the most sense.

"He ran the campaign I should have ran, in terms of emphasizing that independent," Hawkins said. "His independence is different that ours. He is independent of the two party lines, and ours is independent of the moneyed special interests. His branding that way was successful, people bought into it."

Hawkins said Walsh was able to build a diverse coalition, but he also said that alliance has contradictions within it.

“The conservative business leaders and the working class people have different interests," Hawkins said. "He may try to balance it out, give some to one side, give some to the other, but he’s going to have difficulty keeping that coalition together."

Hawkins said his next campaign may be another run for governor in 2018.