Dustin Czarny doesn’t have skin directly in the game, but as the Onondaga County Democratic elections commissioner, his seat in the stands is much closer than most.

From afar, he sees what we all do.

When Michael Greene lost his primary bid for mayor of Syracuse to Khalid Bey, it marked a second straight mayoral election year where the candidate Onondaga County’s Democratic Committee threw its support behind had lost.

What You Need To Know

  • For the second election year in a row, the candidate the Onondaga County Democratic Committee supported for the Syracuse mayoral race was defeated in the primary

  • While some may say there’s a problem, others say it isn’t that big a deal, as finding the right candidate is all that matters

  • This year, Khalid Bey defeated Democratic Committee choice Michael Greene 

While it may seem like there’s something wrong — some disconnection in a city painted in blue — Czarny sees it differently.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Nobody wants to lose primaries, but I think getting the best candidate is the best thing for the party,” Czarny said.

What helps make that statement ring even truer, Czarny believes, is seeing what Michael Greene did after realizing Khalid Bey would be the Democratic candidate in the fall.

Greene didn’t complain, he didn’t contest, he simply accepted the will of the voters and offered Bey his complete support.

“That’s going to go a long way to heal any natural wounds that come from a primary and move the party forward,” Czarny added.

Czarny said now is when we’ll see just how much the party and its voters believe the same. The push will be on to get more people to the polls, and more absentee ballots returned.

Of the 1,300 sent out for the primary, only 600, less than half, were returned.

Czarny said getting more people to vote is how Khalid Bey and the Democratic Party can unseat incumbent Mayor Ben Walsh, who is running as an independent.

“I’m a Democrat and I think that informs voters where my heart will be. However, that being said, the most important thing for me is that high turnout and make sure every voter has their voice,” Czarny added.

For Czarny, despite his heart being obvious, that means every voter — no matter their party. The will of the people he says, is above all else.

As for the mayoral election in November, Bey and Walsh will be joined on the ballot by Republican Janet Burman.