Zogby: five candidates could split the vote and make all the difference in Utica Mayor race


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Utica Mayor David Roefaro may not be seeking a second term, but the line of people to replace him is longer than it's been for any other mayor.

Depending on whether they vote for the person or the party, Utica voters will have up to 12 choices on election day - five candidates representing a total of seven political parties.

"I don't remember five candidates before, in fact, even studying a bit of history, I don't remember five candidates," says independent pollster John Zogby.

Zogby says if he could be any candidate going into Tuesday's Utica Mayoral Race, he'd be Democrat and Working Families candidate Robert Palmieri.

"He benefits from a split. He benefits from I think a very dramatic split on the republican side which could conceivably turn this race into that 1995 race," says Zogby.

The international pollster refers to Utica's 1995 mayoral race; one where some felt that candidate Barbara Klein pulled votes from candidate Louis LaPolla, potentially costing him the race, which candidate Ed Hanna won.

Zogby says that Palmieri could also potentially lose votes to third party candidates, Robert Clemente of the Green Party and Rainbow Party Candidate Ernie Sanita.

"In a dynamic like this, 500-600 votes by Clemente taken arguably mainly from the democratic side is something that could throw the race into a tizzy."

Zogby also points out that the city itself has its own dynamic; one of familiarity, and that can't be discounted.

"So much in a city this size and of this nature is personal, you know, so you're talking about Mike and Bobby and Rob and families that may include democrats and republicans."

The fact that registered democrats outnumber registered republicans 14,590 - 7,025 isn't necessarily a dependable yardstick by which to speculate about the outcome of Election Day, as republicans have dominated city government for the better part of the past four decades.

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