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Primaries shake out candidates for November.

The field of candidates running for mayor and other local offices thinned considerably last week following the primary elections in a number of cities.

The stage was set for a transition of leadership in Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y., as well as New Haven, Conn.

Incumbent mayors seeking reelection advanced to the general election in New York City, Seattle and Hartford, and the former council president of Washington, D.C., won a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of his successor.

Mayor Coleman Young's decision to leave office brought about the first wide-open race in 20 years in Detroit, and Tuesday's nonpartisan primary moved two candidates with legal backgrounds into the runoff.

Dennis Archer, a former state supreme court justice, and Sharon McPhail, an assistant Wayne County prosector, far outdistanced other hopefuls by winning 53 percent and 36 percent of the vote, respectively. Both candidates are black, and Ms. McPhail is seeking to become the city's first woman mayor.

In Minneapolis, NLC President Don Fraser's decision to leave office this year set off a scramble that attracted 17 candidates. Emerging on top and advancing to the runoff were Council President Sharon Sayles Belton and John Derus, a former Hennepin County commissioner.

Next door in St. Paul, 16 candidates were competing to succeed Mayor Jim Scheibel, a member of the NLC Advisory Council, who also decided not to run this year. The runoff will match Norm Coleman, an assistant state attorney general, against Andy Dawkins, a state representative.

In Buffalo, Anthony Masiello, a state senator, won the all-important Democratic nomination to succeed Mayor Jim Griffin, who is stepping down after 16 years in office. The nomination virtually locked up a victory by Masiello against Republican Richard Grimm in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Rochester Councilmember Nancy Padilla, vice chair of the NLC Human Development Policy Committee, and former Councilmember Ruth Scott, who had served on the NLC board of directors, both came up short in their effort to win the Democratic nomination to succeed Mayor Thomas P. Ryan Jr., another senior mayor choosing to leave office this year. William A. Johnson, president of the local chapter of the Urban League, won the nomination that all but sealed a victory against Republican Mark Dulaney in November.

In Albany, Alderman Gerald Jennings turned the tables on the city's fabled political establishment and defeated Harold Joyce, who had served as the county Democratic chairman until entering the race to succeed Mayor Thomas Whelan.

Whelan's appointment to a federal judgeship opened up the race for the Democratic nomination, and Jennings' victory broke a tradition of party-dominated elections dating back more than 70 years. He will face Republican Philip Spiro and an independent candidate, the Rev. Senley Jack, in November.

Joseph Nicoletti, a state assemblymember, won the Democratic mayoral nomination in Syracuse and will face Republican Roy Bernardi, the city auditor.

In New Haven, John DeStafano, a former city administrator, won the Democratic nomination to succeed Mayor John Daniels, who is leaving office after two terms. DeStefano, who had challenged Daniels four years ago and lost is virtually assured on victory in November in this strongly Democratic city.

Mayor David Dinkins had no difficulty capturing the Democratic nomination in New York City, but the general election is expected to be a bruising battle between Dinkins and Republican Rudolph Giuliani.

Another close contest is expected in Hartford, where Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry and Michael Peters, a city firefighter, advanced to a runoff after a contentious primary.

Seattle voters gave a commanding margin to Mayor Norm Rice in that city's primary, making his reelection in November a virtual certainty.

Voters in the District of Columbia gave David Clarke a landslide victory in a special election for his old office of council president, left vacant by the death of his successor, John Wilson. Clarke, who had left office to run for mayor in 1991, led in all but one city ward, and will serve the remaining two years of Wilson's term.
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Author:Arndt, Randy
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Sep 20, 1993
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