UTICA - It was weed wackers and waterslides Wednesday for Utica's two mayoral primary candidates.
The incumbent, Mayor Robert Palmieri, spent the afternoon on his weekly quality of life sweep with lawn-maintenance implements in hand. The challenger, City Councilman Joe Marino, spent the day at Water Safari, in Old Forge, with family.
Any celebrations for both were tempered by uncertainty, as the race is too close to call. There are enough absentee ballots to sway the current outcome, which has Palmieri leading by 122 votes.
"Obviously we're back doing what we do each and every Wednesday, and I'm very honored at this point to be re-elected again as a Democratic candidate. And they'll count the absentee ballots, but I feel very good at this point that our team has put together a very good campaign. We've done our due diligence and at the end of the day, I think even if they do down 50%, we'll come up with the win," said Palmieri on Wednesday.
Marino was congratulatory... and cautious.
"For now, I congratulate him until a couple of weeks, til those absentees come in. But, you know, again, we knew it was going to be a tight race. All power to the mayor, but let's see where the rest of the count comes in at," said Marino Tuesday night.
Of the 389 absentee ballots yet to be counted, Palmieri would need 134 to retain his victory. Marino would need 256 for the upset.
Either way, Marino will be on the ballot in November on the Independence Party line.