Syracuse Democrats sue to stop Republican from appearing on mayoral ballot

Onondaga County Democrats have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop Republicans from filling a vacant candidate slot in the race for Syracuse mayor.

In State Supreme Court documents filed Friday, county Democratic Chair Mark English, Democratic Elections Commissioner Dustin Czarny, and Republican Carl Masterpole objected to the placement of attorney Kevin Kuehner on the mayoral ballot.

Kuehner, who practices law in Syracuse, is also a candidate for an at-large Syracuse Common Council seat. The plaintiffs argue that Kuehner should not be able to run for both offices at the same time, and has not officially removed himself from the Common Council race. They also say Kuehnerâ??s name was not submitted in time by the Republican Party.

A hearing has been scheduled for September 9, one day before Primary Day, in State Supreme Court before Judge Hugh Gilbert.

In a news release issued Tuesday morning, Republican chairman Tom Dadey claimed, â??Republicans are on solid legal ground in switching a City Council candidate to the Mayor's race to preserve their ballot line while party leaders continue to search for a viable and interested candidate.â??

Addressing the lawsuit, Dadey added, "Democrats are pulling out all of the stops to ensure that this is a coronation and not an election. With so much at stake, we can't let them get away with it."

Kuehnerâ??s name was submitted as a Republican mayoral candidate just ahead of the filing deadline on August 19. He replaced Dadey on the ballot. At the time, Dadey said, "It is important that our Party preserve all of our options for the race for Mayor and moving Kevin into this slot does just that," indicating Kuehner may not be the partyâ??s final candidate when Election Day rolls around on November 5.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are Dadey, Kuehner, the Onondaga County Republican Party, Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggins Walsh, and Council candidate Ernest Morrow.

Three Democrats are currently vying for the partyâ??s nomination: incumbent Mayor Stephanie Miner, Common Councilor Pat Hogan, and Alfonso Davis. Primary Day is next Tuesday.