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Burns withdraws from Binghamton City Council race

None of Binghamton City Council's three Democratic members will seek reelection this year.
Vaughn Golden
None of Binghamton City Council's three Democratic members will seek reelection this year.

Binghamton City Councilman Joe Burns is abandoning his reelection bid to city council.

Burns' departure from the race means that none of the three incumbent Democrats on the council are seeking reelection. Councilwoman Aviva Friedman and Councilwoman Angela Riley both declined to seek a second term as well.

Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham defeated Burns for the office by about 10 percentage points in 2021.

Burns said he decided not to run, in part because he was discouraged by personal attacks by Republicans, many of which he considers untruthful.

“It hurt my family so much that they had to go defending lies and half-truths around town, and they did not want to go through it again and they talked me out of running basically,” Burns told WSKG Tuesday.

Burns also said he found it challenging running in a newly drawn district, which includes less of his current district on Binghamton’s south side.

"They've given me a different district to run in, and I didn't really grasp it until I was getting those signatures. And you know, it was just, it was just the way it went down,” Burns said.

Burns also said he’s taken criticism from members of his own party over his four years in office, mostly for supporting some programs to help fund the city's police department, though he said that didn’t factor into his decision not to run.

"We have a, more of a, diverse group of people in the Democratic Party, there's no doubt about it. There are diverse views. Was it hurtful, some of the things people said? Yes, I'll say it was. But I just don't think that they, they have never pulled me aside to have a discussion with me about it. If they had, maybe they wouldn't say some of the things they said,” Burns said.

Teri Rennia, chair of the city Democratic committee, blamed Republican members of city council and the city administration for what she considers unfair treatment of the Democratic minority. She said, despite none of the council’s three Democrats running for reelection, she’s confident in the slate of new candidates.

"We have an amazing slate of candidates from a variety of backgrounds who are all bringing something different to the table and are all motivated by different things."

Members of the Broome Democratic Committee selected Hadassah Mativetsky to take Burns’ place on the ballot this fall. Other Democrats on the ballot include Olamni Porter, Robert Cavanaugh, Kinya Middleton, Nate Hotchkiss and Rebecca Rathmell. Republicans running for council include Sophia Resciniti, Phil Strawn, Tom Scanlon, Mary Ann Callahan, Husain Hadi, Brian Nayor, and Mario Lisi.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.