Joe Burns, a city councilman whose father served as Binghamton mayor, has decided against seeking reelection because of the negativity in political campaigns.

Burns - who represents the 5th District covering a section of the South Side - had submitted nominating petitions to the Broome County Board of Elections as he prepared to run for a second four-year term.

Burns was the Democratic candidate for mayor of Binghamton in 2019, losing to Republican Jared Kraham.

Speaking on WNBF Radio Tuesday, Burns said he chose not to subject his family to another election campaign because of "the toxicity that's in politics today."

While collecting petition signatures in his district, Burns said he repeatedly wound up defending himself from claims made in commercials that attacked him during the mayoral campaign.

He said "one of them was a complete lie and the other was full of half-truths."

Burns said one campaign ad contended he supported "defunding the police." He said the commercial was illustrated with a document that had nothing to do with that issue.

He said "the whole commercial was a complete lie over and over again." He said "people still remember it," so he found himself refuting a false message from years ago.

Burns also said some residents recalled a campaign commercial that inaccurately characterized a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. He said the matter ultimately was resolved in his favor.

Burns said he didn't want his family to have deal with another election campaign that could have been filled with similar attacks.

While he intends to remain involved with Binghamton issues, Burns vowed not to run for any office in the future.

Burns is the son of John Burns, who was Binghamton mayor from 1958 to August 1965. His uncle, William Burns, was appointed mayor by city council after his father resigned to become New York State Democratic chairman.

LISTEN: Binghamton City Councilman Joe Burns interviewed on News Radio WNBF on April 25, 2023.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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