SYRACUSE -- The uninvited write-in candidate for Syracuse City Council, Randy Miller, was later invited and welcome to participate in the city's most recent municipal debate, according to event organizers.
The event, held Wednesday at City Hall, was hosted by the Teen Age Republicans, whose leadership initially emailed Miller, an unsuccessful candidate in the Aug. 13 primary, informing him that as a write-in candidate he would not be able to participate in the debate because his name was not on the ballot.
That is when the city stepped in, informing the TARs group that Miller would be extended an invitation to participate, or the event would be cancelled.
The public scrutiny that followed the email he received from TAR brought the issue to a head, resulting in city officials stepping in, said a grateful Miller.
"It actually turned out quite well," Miller said of the debate.
According to an organizer, Anna Golightly Jeffs, about 90 people attended the event.
"I think the general tone of the meeting was good," said Miller, who wasn't certain what to expect after challenging the TAR group from trying to exclude him from the debate.
Miller, on Sept. 4, officially filed with the city as a write-in candidate for the Nov. 5 municipal election, paying his $25 filing fee to the city.
In meeting with TAR representatives Wednesday, they had indicated to him that he wasn't "the rebel" they thought he was, Miller said of the conversation he had with them.
"I think they thought I was nefarious in nature," he said.
But the write-in campaign, and the media attention it has drawn, Miller said, isn't about "building the Randy Miller brand.
"It's about 'We The People,'" Miller told the Standard-Examiner.
The next scheduled debate for Syracuse City municipal candidates will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 10 at City Hall, 1979 W. 1900 South.
The event will feature a meet and greet with all the candidates, with a debate between mayoral candidates Terry Palmer and Syracuse City Councilman Doug Peterson, Jeffs said.
Jeffs said she anticipates the turnout for that debate to be even better than Wednesday's turnout.
An additional debate scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 24 at City Hall will be held for the five candidates seeking the two open four-year seats on the council, Jeffs said.
"It's going to be great," she said.
Both October debates are being hosted by The League of Women Voters.
Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.