election 2013

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Now that Election Day 2013 is history, political types begin looking to next year's races. Syracuse-area Rep. Dan Maffei is already campaigning, although not necessarily with his own race in mind.

As he watched winners parade up to the podium at Onondaga County Democratic Party headquarters on election night, Maffei says he was thinking less about an expected race for reelection next year, and more about last year, when he upended an incumbent tea party Republican to retake a seat he had initially won in 2008.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Absentee ballots still need to be counted, but Democrats appear to clawed back a seat on the Onondaga County Legislature. Republicans, though, are playing up the fact that they will maintain a 'super majority' in the body.

Republicans didn't have much else to celebrate Tuesday as they didn't put anyone up in the mayor's race and lost at least one of the two Common Council races they were contesting.

Benketaro / Flickr

New Yorkers voted yes to Proposition 1 on ballots yesterday, authorizing seven non-Indian casinos to be built, mostly in the upstate region.

The amendment to the state constitution, approved 57 percent to 43 percent Tuesday, was proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration as a way to boost economic and job growth.

In Monroe County, the proposition was narrowly beaten by 460 votes.

Bill Reilich, chairman of the county’s GOP committee, voted no. He says gambling will not bring the economic development promised.

The success of Proposition 1, the ballot amendment to expand casino gambling, and the failure of the last amendment, to allow judges to serve until age 80, are both wins for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Syracuse and Onondaga County's local political landscape remains pretty much intact after yesterday's election. Republicans rule the suburbs and County government; while democrats maintain a stranglehold over Syracuse city hall. Mayor Stephanie Miner won re-election easily with 68 percent of the vote against two third-party challengers, and got a surprise congratulations call from Washington.

Joanna Richards

Watertown's City Council contest pitted two fiscally conservative incumbents against two political newcomers who want city government to think more broadly about its role. The voters went for one of each.

Small business owner Teresa Macaluso led the pack by a comfortable margin to keep her seat for a second four-year term. She says good budget management will always be her top priority. "Without a budget, a balanced budget, we don't get any of the services that we want, things fall behind, and then before you know it, you're in trouble," she said. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

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.

Two of the six amendments on Tuesday’s ballot deal with land swaps in New York’s Adirondack Park. One of the proposals has split environmental groups.

Proposition 4 would clear up some land disputes for property owners on Raquette Lake, in Hamilton County. It would allow the state to give clear titles to around 200 homes along the lake. In exchange, the landowners would contribute to a fund to buy alternative land for the Adirondack forest preserve. There is no organized opposition to that land swap.

But Proposition 5 is more controversial.

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There are six amendments on Tuesday’s ballot, ranging from whether New York should allow seven resort-style gambling casinos, to whether judges should be allowed to serve on the bench until the age of 80. Here’s a rundown:

Proposition 1 has received the most attention. It would amend the state’s constitution to change the prohibition on gambling casinos, allowing up to seven resort style gambling centers to be built. A coalition of business and labor groups has been mailing brochures out to voters, and running ads.

The comptroller race in the city of Utica has taken an odd turn. At an event last week, the city's Democrat Mayor Robert Palmieri endorsed Independence Party candidate William Morehouse, rather than fellow Democrat Jim Zecca.

In a written statement, Palmieri explained that he believes says the city needs to elect people who “believe in working together and have the city of Utica's best interest at heart.”

Zecca says even though he doesn't have the support of most of Utica's elected Democrats, it hasn’t derailed his campaign.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Elections officials in Onondaga County aren't counting on a busy day tomorrow, as they're predicting record low turnout rates.

Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggens Walsh thinks it'll be a struggle to get more voters out this year than two years ago, which was the lowest turnout ever.

"Our record low is 25 percent," Kiggens Walsh said. "I think we're going to go below that this year. I'm guessing the low 20s."

Johannes Gilger / Flickr

On Tuesday when you go to vote, you’ll find two issues on your ballot that deal with New York’s Adirondack Park.

Both involve small land swaps that have been in the works for years. But because they impact the park’s forest preserve, which is protected by the state constitution, they require a vote of the people to move forward. Although one of the land swaps enjoys wide support, the other has sparked controversy and a fierce debate among environmentalists.

Joanna Richards

Watertown's City Council hopefuls got one final chance before tomorrow's election to make their case at a meet-the-candidates event last week. The four opponents advocate different roles for city government. 

The race pits two incumbents who see a limited role for city government against a pair of political newcomers with broader visions for what the council can do to improve residents' lives. 

A proposal on the November ballot to allow some state judges to serve until they are 80 years old is not drawing a lot of support, and one court expert says that’s a shame.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

The Green Party candidate running for mayor of Syracuse says the that office needs more tools to deal with a homicide crisis in the city.  Kevin Bott says if he is elected, he would fully embrace the concept of community policing to get at the root of this year's rash of killings across the city.

ChrisYunker / via Flickr

If voters on Tuesday pass the proposed amendment to the state constitution to allow casino gambling, New York will become the 21st state to have commercial, Las Vegas-style casinos. Across much of the country nowadays, gambling seems like the natural state of things. But it wasn’t always that way.

If you’re a person of a certain age -- say about 50 -- you’ll remember when going to the casino meant a trip all the way to Las Vegas. It seems almost quaint now, but just a generation ago casinos were outlawed in 49 of 50 states. Only Nevada allowed legalized gambling.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A week before hoping to win re-election, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner hosted her first Twitter town hall, one of her few large public engagement efforts this campaign season.

Miner spent just under an hour Tuesday fielding questions on the social media site via the hashtag #AskMayorMiner and responded through the city's official account.

ChrisYunker / via Flickr

A state Supreme Court judge threw out a lawsuit challenging the wording of a November ballot amendment to expand gambling in New York. Opponents say they will appeal.

Judge Richard Platkin rejected a challenge from a Brooklyn attorney who said the wording of the November ballot amendment, to allow up to seven new gambling casinos in New York, is biased.

This November, voters in New York will decide whether the state will allow up to seven new resort-style gambling casinos, when they vote on a constitutional amendment. But the wording of the actual referendum on the ballot may increase the odds of the new casinos being approved.

Most ballot referendums proposing constitutional changes are written in very drab, and even confusing language. But the proposal to change the state’s constitution to allow up to seven new gambling casinos is different.