OSWEGO — A former Port City mayor is looking to secure a spot at the 2020 Democratic National Convention as a delegate.
John T. Sullivan Jr. will appear as a delegate for candidate Pete Buttigieg on the June 23 Democratic presidential primary ballot. If the former South Bend, Indiana mayor gets at least 15 percent of the vote and Sullivan is the top vote-getter for delegates, he could be on his way to the party convention in Wisconsin in August.
While Buttigieg dropped out of the race in March and former Vice President Joe Biden is the clear front-runner, Sullivan said this is a way for voters to still have a voice on the issues.
“I have experience in how these conventions operate,” Sullivan told The Palladium-Times this weekend. “I have experience and I think I’d be qualified to represent the interests of the community.”
“I have experience and I think I’d be qualified to represent the interests of the community.”
Sullivan is on the line for Buttigieg, along with former Oswego Personnel Director Rita Tickle. Former county legislator and Fulton mayoral candidate Dan Farfaglia is lined up with Biden.
Each presidential hopeful needs to win at least 15 percent in order for their delegates to be eligible. So while Sullivan hopes Buttigieg gets 15 percent, he would likely end up using his delegate powers to vote for Biden since most of his challengers have withdrawn.
“We’d be un-pledged delegates, but frankly I would vote for the Democratic nominee, which is Biden unless something changes,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan has previously attended two conventions as a delegate. He said he was “a young whippersnapper” at the 1972 convention in support of George McGovern, and earned another spot in 1996 as an at-large delegate.
Now semi-retired but still working as a writer and attorney, Sullivan was the city of Oswego mayor from 1988 to 1992, the co-chair of the state democratic party from 1995 to 1998 and the assistant district attorney general in Watertown from 2003 to 2007.
Sullivan called his experience in government his “life’s work.”
“When the opportunity came up to declare for a presidential candidate and run as a delegate, I thought ‘Why not one last hurrah?’” Sullivan said.
Sullivan is hoping the voters give him one more trip to the Democratic National Convention.
“I’m qualified, I’m healthy and I can go,” Sullivan said. “I think I can represent the interests of the Democratic party in this area well. The only barrier is Buttigieg getting 15 percent of the vote.”
President Donald Trump recently insisted that the marquee event of the Republican National Convention — his acceptance of his party’s nomination for reelection — be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, after North Carolina’s Democratic governor refused to promise he would not impose COVID-19 restrictions.
“I can’t imagine a rally where you have every fourth seat full. Every six seats are empty for every one that you have full. That wouldn’t look too good,” he said.