Juanita Perez Williams won the Democratic Party nomination Tuesday night, paving the way for her to possibly become the first Latina mayor of Syracuse.
With 52 percent of the votes, Perez Williams, an attorney and former associate dean at Syracuse University, soundly defeated Common Councilor Joe Nicoletti –34 percent and City Auditor Marty Masterpole—9 percent.
“We showed (that) the people want a mayor for everyone,” Perez Williams said in her victory speech at Cathy’s Corner Café on Avery Avenue. “Not for me, not for a title, but for the people of this city that are waiting for hope, waiting for someone that will hear them.”
Reminiscent of the 2008 Barack Obama presidential bid, some supporters shouted “si se puede” (yes we can).
It was a hotly contested race, and Perez Williams did not receive the Democratic Party endorsement, but says she is ready to bring the party together with a message of inclusion. “I am confident… I am sure we will all come together and we will be stronger.”
The democratic party-backed candidate, Joe Nicolette, said he has no regrets. “I haven’t changed my mind about the issues facing the city, including education, public safety, code enforcement and unemployment,” he said in his concession speech Tuesday night.
Perez Williams will face Republican candidate Laura Lavine, Independent Ben Walsh and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins in the November general election. Nicoletti previously said he would run on the Working Families Party line during the general election.