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Five candidates on ballot in Utica Mayor's race

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - One race, five candidates, six party lines and two political newcomers. Utica voters will have a lot to consider in this fall's mayoral race.

Candidate Robert Clemente is green in more ways than one. He's the Green party candidate, and it's his first venture into politics.

"I think it's a good thing for me and for the Green party," Clemente said. "More discussion, more candidates, more ideas can help with the city."

Also new to the political arena - Rainbow party candidate Ernie Sanita, who says a 10-year storm is about to come to an end and the 'Rainbow' is coming out November 8. Sanita is happy to be a third-party candidate in a six-party race.

"In the case of the Republicans, the votes split; you've got both Republicans in the race," Sanita said. "In the event with the Democrats, a lot of my supporters are Democrats."

Utica Comptroller Michael Cerminaro is the Republican candidate following a primary-day victory. He says Utica's problems don't have a party affiliation.

"We've been hearing from people all throughout the area that government is not working," Cerminaro said. "They want their streets cleaned. They don't want taxes raised. They want government to work for them, so that message has not changed and it's not going to change, whether you have one person in the race or five people in the race."

Robert Cardillo sought, but did not receive the Republican party nod on Primary Day. The Conservative and Independence party candidate points out that, in Utica, history has shown that third-party status is nothing to be discounted.

"Remember, we've elected independent candidates in Utica," Cardillo said. "Pawlinga, 30 years ago lost the Democratic party, won as an Independent. Hanna was elected twice as an Independent, so it's not an unusual occurrence. I think five people on the ballot just makes it very interesting."

Former City Councilman Robert Palmieri has walked the campaign trail before. He, too, says that the size of the field doesn't matter; it's the merit of the message.

"I guess I don't look at it as five or two," Palmieri said. "I look at it, at this point, as far as what I bring to the table. My experience. My passion for the city."

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