The beloved of Syracuse election day the tradition returned on Tuesday with politicians and political candidates gathering to eat together before the end of the vote.
Our Lady of Pompeii staff and volunteers served 6,000 meatballs and hundreds of spaghetti dinners in the church school cafeteria.
Both men hope to retake the House seat currently held by the Republican congressman for four terms John Katkowho did not make an endorsement in this race.
Katko has decided to retire This year. His coveted seat has been considered one of the top prizes by both major political parties over the past decade. Democrats and Republicans see the district as one that would help determine control of the House of Representatives each election year.
Sitting opposite each other, Conole and Williams ate their spaghetti and swapped Navy stories about Williams’ submarine and Conole’s guided-missile destroyer.
“We just talked about our experience in the Navy and that shared background, and got his advice on some things,” Williams said. “It was actually very nice.”
Conole said the pair also talked about nuclear power and the hit HBO show “Chernobyl.”
“We just caught up with the trail,” Conole said. “We both said that when you make that sacrifice and run, one of the best things about it is the relationships you build with people in the community. It’s the most important thing in life, the relationships you build.
The friendly moment between Conole and Williams comes after weeks of fiery debates among the candidates on issues of inflation, the economy, abortion rights, the influence of foreign money on politics, criminal justice reform and the future of Social Security.
“It’s very nice to see,” said Esteban Gonzalez, the Republican nominee for Onondaga County Sheriff. “I think it should set a precedent for all candidates and all parties to speak up. You can disagree, but you can do it pleasantly.
Gonzalez has attended the spaghetti dinner several times over the years. He faces Democrat Toby Shelley for the position of Onondaga County Sheriff.
“Everyone is saying they really believe it’s going to be a red wave today,” Gonzalez said. “The energy, the excitement is on for a hard-line Republican sweep all the way. It’s the chatter there.
The tradition of the election day spaghetti dinner is making a comeback
Williams echoed Red Wave’s sentiment, saying central New Yorkers “need a fresh perspective” in Washington.
“The story tomorrow morning could be the whole nation looking at the Empire State and saying the Empire State is bringing the nation back to common sense,” Williams said. “And I think it will be a very dramatic title for the whole nation.”
After two years of take-out dinners due to Covid-19, today’s Election Day dinner was festive as hundreds of politicians and community members once again gathered in the cafeteria.
Conole said it was “so nice to come together as Americans, as central New Yorkers, and to break bread.”
“There is more that binds us than divides us,” Conole said. “I believe we have to work together. If we want to continue to be this great country, this essential nation, to face the challenges of our time, we will have to do it together.
Polling stations on Election Day are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. If you are in line when the polls close, you can still vote.