So far, one person has thrown a hat into the race for Utica Mayor in the Handshake City for next year's 2023 election. Robert Cardillo was first out of the gate to announce his candidacy back on November 10th, and so far there are only rumors lurking about as we enter the month of December.

Normally, it would be early to start talking about a city race in the December before, but with the primary process moved up to the month of June, it's important for serious campaigns to prepare for the petition process.

While the political calendar is not out yet, candidates are estimated to be 7 months until the local primaries, and 4 months until candidates will need to go door to door to get petitions signed in order to qualify for the race.

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Bob Cardillo is in. He says he'll run a campaign to continue the re-birth Utica has experienced over the last 10 years. Cardillo ran unsuccessfully for Utica's "top spot" in 2011, losing in the Primary to Republican Mike Cerminaro. He then ran on the Conservative and Independence Party lines in a 5-way contest. He came in third (1,607 votes), behind current Mayor Rob Palmieri (D) 4,082 votes, and Mike Cerminaro (R), 3,701 votes.

Here are other Candidates Being Rumored for Utica Mayor in 2023

Mike Cerminaro - We're hearing Mike Cerminaro is the odds-on favorite. It has to be killing him that had Cardillo not taken the Independence and Conservative votes back in 2011, he would have likely beaten Rob Palmieri.

Joe Marino -  After losing in the Primary in 2019 to Rob Palmieri, Marino decided to run again against the incumbent mayor in the General. Marino only lost by 122 votes. Rumor has it, he's giving a 2023 run some serious consideration.

Celeste Friend - Celeste has been quite busy meeting with community members and city residents. She's made herself a part of some key Utica issues, like whether or not there should be a Stewarts in South Utica. Some documents leaked out a while back that included the words, Celeste Friend for Utica Mayor, making people believe she is definitely running. Celeste leans to the left. The question is how far left does Utica's voting public lean.

Samantha Colosimo Testa - With her father-in-law, Mello Testa Ubering her to the finish line, one would have to consider Samantha a player in the upcoming race for mayor. She almost made the move a while back to challenge Assemblywoman Maryanne Buttenschon   but at the last minute decided traveling to and from Albany wasn't her cup of tea. But, traveling to and from City Hall from North Utica - that might be a different story.

Frank DiBrango - The word is - Frank DiBrango is definitely planning to run. I have no intel on this one, except that I'm told he's serious about getting in.

Tim Julian - Former Mayor and County Legislator Tim Julian recently announced that if the field of contenders doesn't improve, he would consider running for the simple purpose of saving the city. Is he serious? He says he would only run if another former mayor, Dave Roefaro, decided not to.

Dave Roefaro -Deja vu! Former Mayor and business owner Dave Roefaro recently announced that if the field of contenders doesn't improve, he would consider running for the simple purpose of saving the city. Is he serious? He says he would only run if another former mayor, Tim Julian, decided not to. It's interesting how these two former mayors are working together for what they believe is solely saving the city from what they believe could be a field of mediocre candidates.

Mike Galime - The President of the Common Council already has a great job and a successful music career on the side. You couldn't pay him enough...but you never know.

Bill Morehouse - Utica's current Comptroller is certainly qualified and if he did enter the race, he'd send shockwaves throughout the city. A long shot because at this point in his life, he probably doesn't need the grief. One thing is for sure, if he does run, he'll have plenty of political tchotchkes bearing his campaign name. Bill, please save me a fly swatter! I love your stuff!

Jim Zecca - The leader of Utica's Constitutional Caucus which had an unsuccessful outing in the last General Election, is rumored once again to be running. However, Zecca was seen at Bob Cardillo's announcement front and center holding a "Cardillo for Mayor" sign. I'd call him a long-shot and deep in Cardillo's corner.

Joe Hobika Jr. - Speaking of long-shots, Hobika continues to say, he has no interest, yet, his name keeps popping up. He certainly has experience in state, county and city government, and he's also run federal programs during his career. Recently on WIBX, Hobika said he continues to work to "restore law and order to the Utica School District, while encouraging participation from parents and students." Hobika says he'll be done after this term on the Utica School Board, where he serves as President. I think he's too busy to even consider a run for mayor.

Rob Palmieri - Never say never.

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