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Walsh is first independent Syracuse mayor in more than 100 years

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It is a moment ushering in a new era in the city of Syracuse.

"I know with more conviction than ever that the best days in the history of Syracuse are still ahead of us," Ben Walsh, mayor-elect of Syracuse, said Tuesday evening after claiming victory.

Walsh taking the stage Tuesday night as the mayor-elect, after running as an independent, something that has not happened in over a century.

"I wasn't surprised that Ben Walsh won. I was a little surprised at the magnitude of the victory," Grant Reeher, the director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, said.

Reeher said Walsh's big win over Democrat Juanita Perez Williams was a mix of several factors.

He said Perez Williams was unpopular in the Democratic establishment and had a negative reputation as a manager.

Walsh's sizable win, Reeher said, was also helped by the Republican candidate, Laura Lavine.

"Had almost no name recognition in the city of Syracuse, had worked outside of the city, and really had trouble gaining traction in both raising funds and getting her message out there and those two things go together. So, he was able to take almost all the Republican votes," Reeher said.

Then there is Walsh's personality.

Reeher said in a time when national politics is polarized like never before and rhetoric is at an all-time low, Walsh's affable and easygoing demeanor is appealing.

"There is kind of collective exhaustion with that style of political rhetoric and Ben Walsh comes across as low key, friendly. He's not bombastic. Again, sort of like a problem solver, reasonable person and I think that's going to play well," Reeher said.

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