Utica Democrats won't have to look far for a mayoral candidate if city voters overturn recently extended term limits. 

City Comptroller William Morehouse tells WIBX he'd run for mayor in Palmieri can't, saying the city needs a ''continuum of administration and leadership through the [downtown] hospital project.''

Last year, the Utica Common Council voted 5-4 to extend the city's term limits for elected leaders like the mayor, comptroller, common council and common council president from 8 years to 12.  It was a controversial vote that soured many because the effort to extend term limits was initially slated to be decided by voters via a public referendum.

While Palmieri, and Morehouse, would legally be allowed to run for a third term in each of their respective positions, another petition drive is underway to force a public vote that could reduce the maximum number of consecutive years in a city elected post from 12 years back to eight.

That effort and signature collection to prompt a public vote is being led by former Utica councilman Lou Critelli, who served in the 70's and 80's. He is hoping to present the issue to voters this fall.

Morehouse added, ''If the term limits were to change back to eight years then obviously for the betterment of the city of Utica I would run for mayor, but as the current term limits stand, I would support Mayor Palmieri for [a] third term.''

Utica's next mayoral election won't come until 2019.

Critelli recently joined the Keeler in the Morning Show on WIBX to talk about the petition drive: