September 12, 2011

Myrick ’09 Wins Primary for Ithaca Mayor

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Just two years after he graduated from Cornell, 24-year-old Alderperson Svante Myrick ’09 (D-4th Ward) defeated seasoned politician Tompkins County Legislator Pamela Mackesey ’89 (D-1st District) and Alderperson J.R. Clairborne (D-2nd Ward) in the Democratic primary for Mayor of Ithaca Tuesday.

Myrick captured a resounding 46 percent of the vote, defeating Mackesey — widely considered the favorite — by eight points. Clairborne came in third with approximately 17 percent of the vote.

Myrick’s surprise victory makes him both the city’s youngest major party candidate for mayor and its first African-American nominee.

With approximately eight times as many registered Democrats as Republicans in Ithaca, the winner of the Democratic primary enjoys a distinct advantage in the general election. Myrick will face Republican Janis Kelly ’71 as well as independent candidates Christopher Kusznir and Wade Wykstra, commissioner of the Board of Public Works, in November.

In a primary race often defined by his connections to Cornell — Myrick quit his job in the University’s alumni affairs office during the campaign — the young candidate won wide support from across the city’s five wards, shocking many who thought he lacked the necessary connections to the city to win.

Myrick beat Mackesey and Clairborne in 10 of 11 election districts, only losing South Hill, where Mackesey lives.

After his victory was assured, Myrick spoke to a boisterous, energetic crowd of about 50 people outside his campaign headquarters on South Cayuga Street.

“Our work is not yet done,” he told the cheering crowd. “I can promise you over the next two months I will show you my gratitude.”

Check in the morning for a full report.

Original Author: Jeff Stein