Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 20, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY


Midterm election results

The Mayor


Carolyn K. Peterson* (Democratic / Working Families)

Description of Position

Chief executive officer of the City and presides at meetings of the Common Council.

Candidate’s Key Issues

–The strengthening of relations between the City and area schools, colleges and universities

–Enhanced economic prosperity of the City

–Affordable housing for all economic subsets

The Dirt

Though Peterson won’t be a new kid on the block, increasing racial tension caused by several incidents at the Ithaca City School District, Cornell University and Ithaca College has been an issue of concern. These incidents have gotten the City of Ithaca into national news, and Peterson will have to ease race relations and also work on the public relations necessary to quell the problem.

Common Council (Four-year term)


–Maria Coles* (Democratic) [First Ward]
–Jennifer Dotson (Democratic / Common Good) [First Ward]
–Eric Rosario (Democratic / Common Good) [Second Ward]
–Joel Zumoff* (Democratic) [Third Ward]
–Svante Myrick (Democratic) [Fourth Ward]
–Daniel Cogan* (Democratic) [Fifth Ward]

Description of Position

Run city council, whose goal is to organize and operate a

thriving community.

Candidates’ Key Issues

All of the candidates are focused on bettering the operation of the city with a strong tie to Democratic ideals.

The Dirt

Jennifer Dotson of the First Ward will only be serving the end of a two-year term because former Alderperson Shane Seger will be leaving the seat to pursue a job as director of communications for Manhattan-based state Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell.

State Supreme Court Justice For the 6th Judicial District (14-year term)


–Phillip R. Rumsey* (Republican / Independence / Conservative)
–Michael V. Coccoma (Republican / Independence / Conservative)
–Joseph G. Fazzary (Republican / Independence / Conservative)

–Donald F. Cerio Jr. (Democratic)

–Molly Fitzgerald (Democratic)

–Richard W. Rich Jr. (Democratic)

Description of Position

A trial-level court of general jurisdiction composed of 10 judges.

A majority of the cases resolves issues such as divorce proceedings and civil litigation.

Candidates’ Key Issues

Candidates are not allowed to discuss their personal opinions on issues which might be presented to them in court because it would compromise their objectivity.

The Dirt

As the candidates are not able to discuss their opinions outside of party affiliation, they rely heavily upon their experience in the courts. Rumsey has just finished his first term in the position. Coccoma is an Otsego County judge and has also spent seven years serving as an acting Supreme Court judge. Fazzary’s last position before the election was working as the Schuyler County district attorney.

Town Councilperson (Four-year term)


–Peter Stein* (Democratic)
–Eric Levine (Democratic)
–William Goodman (Democratic)

Description of Position

Set agendas and organize in order to maintain a healthy town.

Candidates’ Key Issues

–Create a more unified Town Board

–Increase communication with new chairperson Herb Engman

–Receive more feedback from the community in order to guide agendas

The Dirt

All of the members of the Town Board, who unanimously supported Engman’s bid for the Town Supervisor seat, are optimistic that Engman’s recent role as a Town Board member will enhance cooperation between all of the heads of the Town of Ithaca.

Town Supervisor (Four-year term)


Herb Engman (Democratic / Working Families)

Description of Position

The highest elected position in the Town of Ithaca and chairman of the Town Board.

Candidate’s Key Issues

–Make decisions to preserve the integrity of a neighborhood system through an open government

–Increase communication between the Town Board and the people it represents

–An effort to make the budget more accessible and easy to understand by the general public

The Dirt

A September Democratic primary ousted sitting supervisor Cathy Valentino from a chance to serve for

a fourth year, making this perhaps the most interesting race. Before the primary, Valentino had vowed not to run again, later reneging on her promise. By that time, Engman had garnered the support of several prominent voices, including all of the members of the Town Board, who swept Engman into

the nomination.

Also On The Ballot

A proposed amendment to the New York state Constitution was also passed. The amendment read as thus:

The proposed amendment would allow the State to convey one acre of forest preserve land to the town of Long Lake for public use as the site for drinking water wells and necessary related equipment for the municipal water supply for the hamlet of Raquette Lake. In exchange, the State would receive at least 12 acres of land that is at least equal in value to the land conveyed to Long Lake. The land the State receives would be incorporated into the forest preserve. The Raquette Lake reservoir would be abandoned as a source of drinking water supply.

Bold indicates winner

*Asterisk indicates an incumbent