“We need a blue wave, a brown wave, a progressive wave, a multicultural wave — a wave!” Michelle Courtney Berry exclaimed, to applause, bell-ringing, foot-stomping, and cheers.
Berry was one of many who spoke at the campaign rally for Tracy Mitrano J.D. ’95, Democratic congressional candidate for New York’s 23rd district. Over 60 supporters of Mitrano stood in a semi-circle as campaign workers, the mayor of Ithaca and Mitrano herself spoke Monday evening.
Despite the supporters rallying for the Cornellian democrat in the Southside Community Center, it still appears unlikely for Mitrano to win this election. Nevertheless, she seems to have a much better shot than her two most recent predecessors at defeating her rival incumbent Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).
Political polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight projects that Reed will win on Nov. 6 by a margin of 6 percentage points based on a estimate partially relying on an Oct. 23-24 poll by Change Research showing Mitrano down only 2 points. This margin, according to campaign worker Hadiyah Chowdhury ’18, is an impressive one given that Reed won the 2014 and 2016 elections by 21.9 and 15.2 percentage points, respectively.
While a repeated message of the rally was to promote voter turnout, one audience member won’t be voting next Tuesday.
Max Rubenstein-Miller, who is only 15 years old, decided to come to the rally after school today at his mother’s request, planning to stay for a half hour. After coming to the rally, the Ithaca High School sophomore said that he’d be signing up to volunteer to canvas with his mom for Mitrano.
“I like the fact that [Mitrano] has integrity,” Rubenstein-Miller said. “I really like the fact that she supports the working family.”
Ben Monaghan ’20, who previously worked on the Mitrano campaign, said that many students at Cornell may not know Mitrano personally, but he expected many Cornellians to participate in elections in Ithaca and their hometowns.
Monaghan, who interned for Democrat Martha Robertson’s ’75 failed campaign for congress in 2014, said that this campaign felt different.
“Part of it is the national environment,” Monaghan said, “but I think also that [Mitrano] is learning from the mistakes of other democrats.”
Chowdhury, who began working for Mitrano’s campaign in August, drove 800 miles last week throughout Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Ontario and Schuyler Counties from her home in Corning to get people to go vote.
Alongside slimming margins, Chowdhury also pointed out other positive signs for the candidate, such as funding. Despite lower total fundraising for the entire election cycle than both her democratic candidate predecessors, Mitrano posted record contributions of $950,000 in the third quarter, The Sun previously reported.
“I have made a plan to vote in this midterm since November of 2016,” Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 said to hearty applause.
According to Myrick, there is a difference between “planning” and “intending” to vote, urging the audience to show up on election day and vote for Mitrano.
“More than half of our [geographic] district has never had a woman represent them,” Myrick said, referring to the changes made after redistricting in 2013. “We are going to be doing something for the women in our lives that we care about.”
Mitrano concluded the event by thanking specific campaign workers and supporters. She then recounted her campaign journey, recalling when she decided to run for office and other notable moments.
Cataloguing her policy initiatives — including increasing attention to cybersecurity, expanding broadband access, reforming college payment options and revising the existing tax plan — Mitrano’s speech was punctuated by applause, cheers and the crowd chanting the democratic candidate’s name.
Mitrano will challenge incumbent Rep. Tom Reed on Election Day, November 6.