If city historians ever felt the need to write about the 2015 race to represent the city’s Second Ward on Common Council, they might peg Ducson Nguyen’s election as a battle waged with corrugated plastic signs on the front lawns of downtown.
In the end, Nguyen won, garnering 561 votes and defeating independent Sean Gannon by a massive margin, winning 70 percent of the vote to Gannon’s 28 percent.
Nguyen had mainstream, visible support from the start, and was among the first to have his campaign’s lawn signs implanted throughout the ward. He received a number of high-ranking endorsements, including county legislator Nate Shinagawa, Mayor Svante Myrick and Common Council members Deb Mohlenhoff and Seph Murtagh.
Nguyen also had the money, raising more than $4,000 in campaign funds compared to Gannon’s mostly self-funded campaign. The independent raised $700, aided by six small donations and a team of eight volunteers.
For some residents, it was a toss-up, some saying both candidates had strengths with different perspectives.
“I think they both had strengths,” Second Ward voter Jan-Rhodes Norman said. “That choice was more difficult, I’d say.”
Nguyen appealed to Cornell graduate students Xanda Schofield and Andrew Loeb, who said they felt Gannon’s perspective was too rooted in the interests of the permanent residents of the city and didn’t embody policies the student bodies of Ithaca College and Cornell University would be interested in.
“It seemed [Nguyen] had some thoughtful ideas on policy that would be useful and made sense for residents and students where I felt Gannon was a bit more out of touch for me and people I know,” Schofield said. “We make up a big portion of the town and care about the town. I think it’s important to recognize we have needs as residents here as well.”
Lawyer Isabelle Ramos ran as a write-in candidate after losing to Nguyen in the Democratic primary.