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Posts by Casey Bortnick
Dec 5th - 11:54 pm
Carl Paladino may have a powerful ally in his quest to oust the current Republican Leadership in both houses of the state Legislature. During a book a signing in Paladino’s hometown Thursday night, well known political operative Roger Stone seemed to back Paladino’s efforts.
“I think it’s unlikely the legislative leaders will step down from their incredibly lucrative positions where they don’t have to disclose their outside income. Although I agree with Carl Paladino, they certainly should be forced to do that,” said Stone.
Stone was in Williamsville signing copies of his book “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ.” The event was not only held at a building owned by Paladino’s Ellicott Development, Paladino was on the guest list.
Paladino has been lukewarm about the prospects of mounting another run for governor in 2014. But he has made it clear he’ll challenge the Republican endorsed candidate on the Conservative line if they don’t join his efforts to remove Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
“I think Carl is healthy in that he keeps the party honest. He’s kind of the party’s conservative anchor and you can’t win with just the conservatives, but you can’t win without the conservatives,” Stone said.
While Paladino continues to mull a re-match against Cuomo, several of his political allies are trying to recruit one of Stone’s friends, another bigname businessman, to run. Two Western New York assemblymen were part of group of Republicans who met with Donald Trump in New York City Wedenesday.
“I know some people over there. In fact, Roger (Stone) helped me make the meeting and it turned out to be a lot more than we expected,” said political strategist Michael Caputo.
Caputo, Stone’s protégé, ran Paladino’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Even after the meeting Caputo admitted convincing the real estate mogul to run for Governor will be a tough sell.
“I do believe the notion of Trump running for governor is still more of a fantasy than a reality, but it’s something he’s strongly considering. I think he was firmly in the no column when we asked for the meeting and yesterday, he told us after the meeting, he was in the maybe column. I’m not sure we’re going to get him to the yes column, but it’s a long drawn out process and something he has to talk to his family about over the holidays,” Caputo said.
Stone, who said he wasn’t directly involved in Wednesday’s meeting, believes Trump has his eye on something bigger, but he applauded the recruitment effort.
“I think Mr. Trump has made it pretty clear that he’s not interested in running for Governor although he has been a critic of the current administration. He’s certainly a proponent for fracking. He’s a proponent for tax reduction and job creation,” Stone said.
Whether a Republican candidate for governor would abide by Paladino’s demands remains to be seen, but Stone seemed to suggest they should at least listen.
“The party’s regular wing and the Tea Party wing have to come together. A divided Republican party, particularly in a blue state like this, would have no prospect.”
No matter who faces Cuomo in 2014, even Stone knows they’ll be facing an uphill battle.
“I would have to concede that Governor Cuomo looks very strong right now. He’s got $30 Million in the bank,” Stone added.
Nov 8th - 11:12 am
He’s labeled himself the “people’s independent watchdog.” And after 18 months of campaigning “the people” elected Stefan Mychajliw to a full term as Erie County Comptroller.
“They like the idea that I stand up for taxpayers and hammer politicians. So I feel as though I have the greatest job in the world,” Mychajliw said.
One of Mychajliw’s favorite targets, since winning a special election to occupy the office for one year, is Erie County Executive and former County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. The two have sparred publically over budgeting, record keeping, and vacancies in Child Protective Services.
“There’s a long history of comptrollers holding the County Executive Accountable. To his credit Mark Poloncarz held the previous County Executive accountable,” said Mychajliw.
The Poloncarz Administration, and several Erie County Democrats, have accused Mychajliw of politicizing his office. The public back and forth has caused speculation that Mychajliw has his eye on Poloncarz’s job.
“I’ll let politicians and pundits talk about future political races my focus right now is fixing county government,” Mychajliw said.
The pundits have the 39-year-old Republican on a short list of candidates to challenge Poloncarz in 2015. After a convincing win Tuesday night, Erie County Republican Chair Nick Langworthy hinted Mychajliw may be under consideration.
“He’s made a terrific transition into public service really a continuation of his work as an investigative journalist. People trusted him to deliver the facts when he was a journalist and they trust him to watch their money at county hall. And he is a natural with the people. He has a great deal of charisma. And I think his future is very bright,” said Langworthy.
While Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats 2-1 in registered voters, Langworthy believes Tuesday’s historic results are proof Poloncarz is vulnerable. When voters flipped control of the Erie County legislature to the GOP for the first time since 1977, Langworthy believes the electorate sent a clear message.
“I believe it’s a rebuke of the County Executive and his agenda,” Langworthy said.
Poloncarz seemed to find that suggestion laughable. During an interview with YNN Thursday night, he pointed out control of the legislature came down to an open seat that was previously held by a conservative Democrat.
“I don’t think there was a rebuke. And if there was, why didn’t they mention me in their campaigns. Instead, they said it afterwards. Which is just spin,” said Polancarz.
Political science professor at Canisius College, and Democratic Analyst, Michael Haselswerdt says defeating Poloncarz seems much more realistic now than it did a week ago. Whether or not Mychajliw is the one to do it, is another story.
“He’s pretty green, still. I mean, he should give this at least a term, and maybe another one before he tries to present himself as county exec material but we’ll see. People get pretty heady after an election victory,” Haselswerdt said.
Mychajliw does have name recognition. Former Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Len Lenihan says it gives him a clear advantage.
“If you look at not only Erie County but statewide, nationwide, when they pick broadcasters or media types who are in the news all the time they usually win. I think he’s probably grooming himself for something else. I mean Stefan is a very good media person. He’s a great self-promoter,” said Lenihan.
But Lenihan cautioned Mychajliw, and his party not to get ahead of themselves.
“I think Republicans need to be careful not to be over-zealous. Mychajliw got into office and started attacking Mark (Poloncarz) the first day. It went on everyday for the past year. Now that they have the legislature if it looks like their sole objective is partisan advantage that may work against them,” Lenihan said.
Mychajliw has been aggressive, claiming to have doubled the amount of audits performed in the first 10 months of his tenure than the two previous comptrollers. It’s an approach he doesn’t plan on changing.
“I have a lot of concerns about the County Executive’s proposed budget. I don’t think it’s right that we kick the can on pension payments. And that taxpayers in 2024 are being forced to pay a pension bill that’s due right now. We should not be using one shot revenues to balance the budget,” Mychajliw said.
While Poloncarz declined to comment on his relationship with Mychajliw, Mychajliw said he plans to sit down with the County Executive next week to discuss what he called “common goals.”
“I think it’s the nature of that position that could be perceived as if there’s a lot of butting heads. It’s not reflective of the people in the office, that’s reflective of the positions of the two offices,” Mychajliw said.
As for his political ambitions, Mychajliw is playing it close to the vest.
“I’m going to savor and be very appreciative of these two county-wide victories, and then make a decision about the future,” Mychajliw added
Nov 7th - 1:48 am
Every election night has its winners and losers. Hang around politics long enough and you’ll be on the losing side at some point.
“If you don’t get knocked down, you don’t appreciate how it feels to get back up,” said Erie County Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy.
Langworthy knows what it’s like to get “knocked down.” Just hours after his candidate, Jane Corwin, was bitterly defeated by Kathy Hochul in a Special Congressional Election in 2011, many within his own party were calling for Langworthy’s head.
“Someone who hasn’t experienced failure hasn’t had much experience,” Langworthy said.
That loss made Tuesday night a little more special for Langworthy. His party won two countywide races and took control of the Erie County Legislature for the first time since 1977.
“The victories are much sweeter if you’ve experienced failure,” Langworthy said.
Langworthy’s counterpart, Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner, was on the other side of Tuesday night’s historic result. It’s a defeat that infuriated one fellow Democrat.
“In a county that has, what, 100,000 more Democrats than Republicans, for us to lose the two countywide races, I think is an embarrassment,” said Buffalo Common Council Member Joe Golombek.
It’s an “embarrassment” that Golombek believes Zellner should answer for.
“I think that the honorable thing for Mr. Zellner to do would be to reassess the party and for the good of the party to step aside,” Golombek said.
This isn’t the first challenge from within that Zellner has been faced with. Former Party Chair Steve Pigeon formed a political action committee that funded candidates who mounted marginally successful Democratic Primary challenges.
Zellner has dismissed these challenges. He’s called Pigeon and those who associate with him “fringe” members of the party.
“Taking lessons on how to be a chairman from Steve Pigeon would be like taking boating lessons from the captain of the Titanic. Steve drove this party into the ground when he was involved here and he has no say in the leadership of this organization,” Zellner said.
Facing renewed speculation over his future, and a new challenge to his authority, Zellner was once again defiant.
“Joe Golombek has never been an organizational person. He’s barely a Democrat. He supports Republicans all the time and so taking criticism from someone who supports Republicans quite often about the Democratic Party is just not kosher with me. I’ll take my criticism like anyone else but we think we had a decent night last night,” said Zellner.
Zellner spent Wednesday pointing to the positives that he believes many are overlooking. Democrats did win the Mayor’s race in Tonawanda, gained control of the Hamburg Town Board, and held onto Town Boards in Tonawanda and Cheektowaga.
“I’ve been speaking to town leaders, elected officials throughout the county who are extremely supportive of our organization and appreciate all the hard work and effort that our group put into the election this year. I feel very comfortable in my re-election next year,” he added.
Zellner’s mentor, and predecessor, Len Lenihan says the attacks on the party chair the day after what’s perceived as a tough election are not unusual.
“Every time we lost a race in my ten years, somebody would say he should resign and the next year we would win everything there was to win,” Lenihan said.
The former head of the Erie County Democratic Party says there is an element, small or not, who’d like to replace Zellner. It’s an element Lenihan says contributed to Tuesday’s results.
“Last night was tough, brought on by a lot of the people who wanted to see the Democrats lose. I think when all is said and done, there’s always going to be competition in the Democratic Party. That’s what it’s like,” Lenihan added.
Golombek has never been much of a Zellner fan. He supported Frank Max for Chairman last year.
Zellner narrowly defeated Max and some believe Max is already preparing another run at the party’s top job. Golombek doesn’t necessarily think Max is the right man for the job but says something has to change.
“I think that the Democratic establishment should take a very close look at themselves and they should realize that they’re not an inclusive party. They’re not a big tent party. They’ve turned into a party of cronyism,” Golombek said.
Despite critiques from inside and outside the party Zellner has remained consistently confident. He believes the party’s wins outside of the countywide races won’t go unnoticed.
“The people who are committee members who actually vote on the chairmanship, they respect that. They appreciate that. So like I said, I feel very confident in my re-election next year,” Zellner said.
Zellner doesn’t seem to need any reassurance. If he did, it’s unlikely he’d take it from his Republican Counterpart.
But there does seem to be one thing Zellner, and those who’d like to replace him, can learn from Langworthy’s historic victory Tuesday Night.
“This is a difficult business. The pendulum can swing wildly, especially in the rough and tumble world of Erie County politics. There’s going to be ebbs and flows,” Langworthy added.
Nov 5th - 12:48 am
Tuesday Night is likely a make or break night for Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner. There are four races to watch on Election Night in Erie County; two experts agree Zellner needs to win two of them.
Two county legislature races in the suburbs could flip control of the legislature to the GOP. Political insiders say the key to winning those two seats, and the county wide races for Sheriff and Comptroller, is turnout.
“When you have an off-year election, and it’s an off-year election where you don’t have the County Executive’s race on the ballot in Erie County, turnout is always a challenge,” said Republican Analyst Vic Martucci.
Buffalo’s Mayor, Democrat Byron Brown, is up for re-election. In a contested race that would drive Democratic turnout in the city. Martucci says this is not a contested race.
“I would be surprised if the turnout is heavy in the city of Buffalo. I expect the mayor to win and win handily and I don’t think that turnout is going to be sufficient enough where it’s going to have an impact on the countywide races,” Martucci said.
Democrats hold a two-to-one enrollment edge in Erie County. Low voter turnout, particularly in the City of Buffalo, would work against Democrat Kevin Gaughan in his bid to unseat Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.
“With his limited resources, and he has limited resources, he’s going to focus on trying to get the city vote out and make it a larger percentage of the overall turnout,” said Martucci.
Mychajliw, a former television reporter, easily defeated Democrat David Shenk in last November’s Special Election. Gaughan, is well-known himself for his advocacy for government consolidation.
“He certainly has some name identification. Whether or not that translates into votes is another issue,” Martucci said.
But it’s not just the expected low turnout that could aid Republican Sheriff Tim Howard. Two Democrats are expected to split the opposition vote.
Democrat Bert Dunn lost the Democratic Primary to Dick Dobson, but he remains in the race under the Law and Order Party he created.
“He’s doing what he should have done in the primary, which is spend a whole lot of money and he would’ve been the nominee I think,” said Canisius College Political Science Professor Michael Haselswerdt.
Dunn has spent $200,000 since losing the primary. While some believe Dunn will draw votes from both Dobson and Howard, it’s likely he’ll take more from Dobson.
“He and Dobson are both affiliated with the Democrats in some way. I think he makes it easier for Howard to skate,” Haselswerdt said.
Losing the Comptroller and Sheriff races would certainly look bad for Zellner, but both Martucci and Haselswerdt say there are two other races he needs more.
“He could lose the legislature, which means he’d lose his job in the legislature. It could be a really tough night,” said Haselswerdt.
Zellner is employed by the Erie County Legislature as the Democratic Majority Chief of Staff. It’s a majority that will likely be lost if the Democrats lose one of two suburban legislature seats.
Analysts say the Democrats will likely need to win two contested legislature races in Amherst and in a Cheektowaga-Depew-Lancaster based seat to hold the majority.
Zellner’s hold on the Chairmanship has been considered shaky at best. A marginally successful challenge was mounted by some disgruntled Democrats who formed a political action committee. Two PAC funded candidates, including Dick Dobson, pulled primary night upsets.
Haselswerdt says a bad night for Zellner will lead to another challenge from Frank Max who Zellner narrowly defeated in a hotly contested race for Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman last year.
“If it’s Zellner versus Max after this is all over, I think Max is probably going to be able to supplant him,” Haselswerdt said.
For Zellner, and the Democratic Candidates in these four important races, it will come down to turnout. To generate the kind of turnout needed, Haselswerdt and Martucci say Zellner will have to overcome conventional wisdom.
“There’s no races that anybody that doesn’t care about politics, which is very few people, are going to tune into,” Haselswerdt added.
Nov 2nd - 3:44 am
The Democratic Endorsed Candidate for Rochester Mayor received some support from an unlikely source Friday. It was an endorsement that raised some eyebrows, and made one Monroe County Democrat’s blood boil.
“I’ve been in politics for over 50 years and I have never been so shocked and appalled as I am right now,” said Monroe County Legislator Paul Haney.
In an e-mail to fellow democrats, with the subject line “Disgusting News,” Haney sharply criticized Democrat Lovely Warren for accepting the endorsement of Republican Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.
“Some God awful deal has been made and I am disgusted!” Haney wrote. Haney was irate that Warren would stand side-by-side with someone who as he put it “blocked virtually every initiative that Democrats have advanced in the County Legislature and who opposed Pres. Obama, Gov. Cuomo and tried to knock Louise (Slaughter) out of the box.”
During a Friday morning press conference Brooks suggested her statement of support for Warren was a pledge to work together.
“Residents should know that I believe she and I will have a unique ability to govern together when the election is over,” Brooks said.
Warren pulled a stunning upset in September when she soundly defeated Rochester Mayor Tom Richards in the Democratic Primary. Since then, Warren’s momentum has been slowed by speculation she may not be the most qualified candidate.
“I think the main thing Lovely Warren is fighting right now is the possibility that some voters are going to panic and say I’m hearing Tom Richards will stay. Maybe he can get enough votes and win, maybe this whole election is up for grabs again?” said Aaron Wicks, co-publisher of the online political publication Smugtown Beacon.
Although Richards will appear on the ballot, under the Independence and Working Families lines, he has twice announced he was out of the race and supporting Warren. But Richards has refused to campaign for Warren, and a group of his supporters are continuing to campaign on his behalf.
“One of things that’s been clear from this campaign is that there is still not complete uniformity of opinion within the Democratic Party particularly within the city. Obviously the “Turn Out For Tom” effort shows there are a number of Democrats who are not content with the nominee,” Wicks said.
Wicks believes the Brooks’ endorsement, along with the endorsement of former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson, was designed to reassure those who voted for Warren in September.
“I think it sends a signal to voters that some of the rhetoric aside, Lovely Warren has been City Council President. She knows the city and she can govern. She’s qualified, so voters need not panic. They don’t need to worry and think about holding onto the existing mayor. They can take a chance on her and know that she’s up to the job. That’s what this endorsement was all about,” said Wicks.
Still, the move seemed to catch Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Morelle off guard. Morelle said he was not consulted or made aware of the endorsement prior to the press conference.
“Though he has thrown his support publicly behind Warren, there has been some speculation about how warm that support is. So I think the move by the Warren Campaign was done to protect her candidacy. And whether the chairman was involved, or not, was probably irrelevant to their considerations. If they could get this endorsement they were going to get it,” Wicks said.
While Haney, and some of Brooks’ political adversaries, may not like the move Wicks doubts it will cost Warren many votes.
“This is a signal from the most unlikely of sources, a Republican County Executive, that Lovely Warren is someone you can do business with. So I think her base sees this as validation, actually, of what they’ve seen all along,” Wicks added.
But for at least one Democrat this endorsement is simply unacceptable.
“The smell of this ‘deal’ exceeds anything that the old Emerson Street landfill or the Van Lare Sewerage Treatment plant ever produced,” Haney concluded.
Both Brooks and Warren declined to comment on Haney’s email.
Oct 24th - 2:22 am
Tom Richards held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce, for a second time, he was out of the race for Rochester Mayor.
“I have said I am not running, I endorse Lovely, I’m done,” Richards said.
Richards lost the Democratic Primary to Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren. About a week later, Richards suspended his campaign and sent his campaign funds back to the Monroe County Democratic Party.
“That was driven, as you probably know by now, by some personal circumstances that impacted what I should be putting my time and effort into right now. And while they have changed somewhat the circumstances that drove me to that conclusion continue to exist today, and that’s the way I intend to behave,” Richards said.
Since Richards’ original announcement, his son lost a lengthy battle with cancer. Richards will still be on the Independence and Working Families Party lines in November, but reiterated Wednesday he wants no part of what’s left of the campaign.
“Believe it or not there are things in the world that are more important than political speculation,” Richards said.
It’s speculation that was reignited this week after a group of Richards supporters started a grassroots campaign to re-elect him on their own. When given a chance to call for an end to the movement, Richards declined.
“I don’t think I’m obligated to go around the city and knock on doors and say, ‘Are you doing anything on this campaign? Because if you are, I want you to cut it out.’ You know, I mean, come on here! I’m being as clear as I can be and I’ve told people where I am and what I’m going to do. I assume they’ll respect that. If they chose not to. If they chose to do something else ‘cause they’d rather do something else, I guess that’s what they’ll do,” Richards said.
Those behind the movement to re-elect Richards are hopeful that if their efforts are successful he will be compelled to stay on as Mayor. Richards did little, Wednesday, to squash those hopes.
“Would I serve? Unfortunately, you want a yes or no answer to that but yes or no is not going to be possible,” Richards said.
Richards cited possible procedural hurdles if he were elected as a reason why he couldn’t give a definitive answer.
“And I know that doesn’t satisfy everybody but you’re going to have to live with it,” Richards added.
Tuesday, fellow Democrat Lovely Warren suggested that Richards should put a stop to the unauthorized efforts to revive his campaign. Following Wednesday’s press conference, Warren seemed satisfied.
“He’s supporting me and he wants to be a grandfather to his grandchildren and basically he’s asking the community to support me as well,” said Warren.
The renewed effort to keep Richards as mayor has been interpreted, by some, as fear over the impending reality of a Warren Administration. Warren took 58 percent of the Democratic vote in the primary, but Richards supporters are quick to point out voter turnout was historically low.
“If the person that you want to see elected is supporting someone else then I think that you can just infer that’s what he would like to see. This is a very unfortunate situation that the mayor has been placed in during his time of grievance. And my heart goes out to him and his family at this point in time because he shouldn’t have to deal with this. He dealt with this in September and you have a group of people putting their own needs above his,” Warren said.
The third person in this race, Green Party Candidate Alex White, is disappointed speculation over whether or not Richards is still a candidate has dominated the final weeks of the election.
“I’m sorry that there are so many people that are disappointed with Lovely Warren as a candidate, but there is another one. I’m Alex White, I’m running for mayor. We’ve got 56 percent of children living in poverty and we’re talking about a guy who’s talking about not doing something? We need to talk about how to make Rochester better,” White said.
Monroe County Democratic Chairman Joe Morelle agreed that, at some level, the Richards’ story has been “overplayed.” Despite the fact he didn’t completely close the door on a return to city hall, Morelle believes Richards has been clear about his intentions all along.
“What we heard very clearly from him today is that I’m not participating in it. I’m not supporting it. I’m endorsing lovely Warren as the next Mayor. I don’t think he could have been clearer about that,” Morelle said.
Richards knows the speculation about his future will continue through Election Day. And, while Wednesday’s press conference may have done little to resolve the issue, there was one thing Richards made clear.
“I’m done with this. I’m not going to have another press conference I’m not going to answer any more questions about this. I’m not going to engage in anymore speculation. I’ve done the best I can. You may, or may not, find that satisfying. Others may not find that satisfying. Others may want to give me advice on it and tell me what to do, but I’m done,” Richards added.
Oct 23rd - 1:28 am
Despite dropping out after losing the Democratic Primary, many are still wondering whether or not Tom Richards is really out of the race for Rochester Mayor.
“The only person who can end this speculation is Tom,” said Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren.
Warren, who defeated the incumbent in the September primary, told YNN’s Sheba Clarke that Richards needs to be clear about his intentions.
“If he doesn’t want this he has to say so,” Warren said.
A week after Warren won the Democratic Nomination with 58 percent of the vote; Richards suspended his campaign to deal with what he called family issues. Soon after that announcement, Richards’ son died after a long battle with cancer.
“We understood why he was going to pay attention to his family needs and his job as Mayor, but we never stopped being disappointed in the fact the campaign seemed to be at an end,” said Richards supporter Pattie McCarthy.
That’s why McCarthy, at the urging of the Independence Party, started a grassroots campaign to re-elect Richards.
“The true vote happens in November. We support the re-election of Mayor Tom Richards,” said Monroe County Independence Party Chair Steve Corryn.
Richards will still appear on the ballot on the Independence and the Working Families Party lines. With only two weeks to go before the general election, McCarthy knows there’s a lot of work to do.
“We know it’s a long shot. These are two lines that people aren’t necessarily accustomed to voting on. We’ll have some signs but we’re going to concentrate on ringing doorbells and doing it the old fashion way,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy hasn’t spoken to Richards. But she was quick point out he hasn’t said he wouldn’t stay on if this grassroots campaign is successful.
“He has not said no he wouldn’t, so we are hopeful that he is keeping an open mind,” said McCarthy.
“I think Tom has been pretty clear that he wasn’t going to campaign and that he supports Lovely as the next Mayor of Rochester,” said Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Morelle.
When Richards announced he was suspending his campaign Morelle believes he was indeed throwing his support behind Warren. McCarthy thinks that’s open to interpretation.
“He did not endorse her. What he did say is that he would do everything in his power to ease the transition. We think the best transition is no transition,” McCarthy said.
Richards released another statement Monday in response to several media requests:
“I have been concentrating my time on my family and on my job as Mayor. I have not had any conversations with any political leader regarding the mayoral election.”
To Morelle, the statement reaffirmed Richards’ decision to drop out and back Warren. To political analyst Curt Smith, it’s a noncommittal response by design.
“He’s shrewd enough to know he doesn’t need to say a thing,” Smith said.
Warren was elected in a primary that saw a historically low voter turnout. Faced with the reality of a Warren Administration, Smith said there’s a strong sense of buyer’s remorse among Rochester Democrats.
“They’re thinking what have we done? I think there’s a strong fear over someone who has an anti-business background being the Mayor of Rochester,” said Smith.
The head of the Rochester Business Alliance, Sandy Parker, announced Monday she was delaying her retirement. She cited several reasons for doing so including a likely change in leadership at Rochester City Hall.
“I think there’s a lot of great economic development activity downtown and I think that’s important for the community. I hope that continues,” Parker said.
While some believe the move was a sign of anxiety from the business community over the impending change, Morelle said that’s not the case.
“No I didn’t take it that way. I think the RBA Board loved Tom, and understandably so, but I don’t think they’re worried at all about working with Lovely Warren,” said Morelle.
Smith admits it’s an unlikely outcome, but believes if Richards is drafted by this grassroots movement he’ll be compelled to stick around.
“What’s he going to say I’m elected but I’m not going to serve? If by some happenstance, or a political miracle, he is elected it would be a vote of no confidence for her (Warren) and a vote confidence for him,” Smith added.
McCarthy doesn’t expect Richards to publically address her group’s efforts to get him re-elected. And that’s fine with her.
“I wouldn’t expect him to respond to hypotheticals. There’s no reason why he should. But if we wake up on November 6th and he has the most votes I’m certainly hopeful that he will continue to serve Rochester for a number of years to come,” McCarthy said.
For Lovely Warren, at least, Richards’ perceived silence needs to be broken.
“If he doesn’t want people acting on his behalf he has to say so. It’s been a long campaign and I’m looking forward to the votes coming in on November 5th and being successful,” Warren added.
Alex White is the third candidate for Rochester Mayor, he’ll run on the Green Party line. There is no Republican in the race.
Oct 17th - 1:53 am
Where does the Republican Party go from here? It’s a question many inside the GOP are asking after what many are calling a loss in the fight over the partial government shutdown in Washington, D.C.
“There’s not a whole lot here for Republicans to celebrate to tell you the truth,” said Former Republican Congressman Jack Quinn.
Quinn represented Western New York in the House of Representatives during the government shutdown of 1996. Back then, he said, the fight was strictly about balancing the budget.
“That’s not the case here, I think they (Republicans) pushed the limit here so far that they’ve brought in healthcare and it’s not just about just finances. I think they’re going to be looking at repercussions during the election cycle coming up,” Quinn said.
Quinn was known as a moderate Republican. Soon after he left the House in 2004, his Congressional seat was won by South Buffalo Democrat Brian Higgins.
“This Republican Party is not my Republican Party,” said Quinn.
Quinn said he, and most of his former Republican colleagues, stood for fiscal conservatism. He believes a much more conservative wing of the modern GOP is close to gaining complete control of the party.
House Speaker John Boehner campaigned for Quinn. Quinn still considers Boehner a close friend, and described a conversation he had with him in Washington just two Months ago.
“I said to him John how’s it going? And he looked at me and he shook his head, and he said Jack it’s terrible. He said many of the Tea Party, really Conservative members, keep moving the goal post. Every time I go to Pelosi and I go to the White House, and I come back with a deal they want more. And they want more, and they want more. And I think Speaker Boehner needs to pay attention. I don’t know that he’ll be moved out of there but he needs to pay attention,” Quinn said.
Following the government shutdown of 1996, many predicted the GOP would face consequences at the polls. That didn’t happen. Republicans actually gained seats in the Senate, and retained control of the House. Under the right circumstances, Quinn believes history could repeat itself.
“Some of these deadlines here in this deal are interesting: January 15th, February 7th. We’re into to the election cycle. And people are going to be looking with one eye to November when they’re making some of these decisions. So I’m hoping, and I’m always hopeful that cooler heads prevail after the first of the year,” Quinn added.
Sep 23rd - 11:16 pm
The son of Rochester Mayor Tom Richards died Monday after a long battle with cancer. The sad news comes about a week after the mayor announced he was suspending his campaign to deal with a family matter.
Matthew Richards, 37, died after a five-year battle with cancer. He leaves behind his wife Jill, his two sons, and his parents Tom and Betty Richards.
Despite losing the Democratic Mayoral Primary to Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren, Richards was endorsed by the Working Families Party and the Independence Party, and was considering staying in the race. Mayor Richards announced last week he was dropping out to deal with what he described as a family illness.
Sources close to Richards said his youngest son’s illness weighed on his initial decision to seek re-election in March. As his conditioned worsened over the summer, Richards said he wanted to focus on his family and decided he could not continue to campaign.
“My thoughts and prayers are very much with the Richards family at this difficult time,” said Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Morelle.
Calling hours will be held Thursday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at the Anthony Funeral and Cremation Chapel on Monroe Avenue in Rochester. The family is asking, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Matthew’s memory to The Center for Youth at 905 Monroe Avenue in Rochester, 14620.
Sep 17th - 11:41 pm
State Assembly Majority Leader, and Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman, Joe Morelle believes Rochester Mayor Tom Richards made the right choice for his family when he announced he was ending his campaign. Richards made the announcement Tuesday, exactly one week after losing the Democratic Primary to Rochester City Council President Lovely Warren.
“As good as he is as an elected official and a business and community leader; he’s that good as an individual. And so my thoughts and prayers are with his family. And we obviously wish him well,” Morelle said.
Despite losing the Democratic endorsement, Richards will still appear on the Working Families and Independence Party lines this November. Citing a “family health matter” and facing another tough fight, against Warren and Green Party Candidate Alex White, Richards suspended his re-election bid.
“It’s something that I think has evolved for some time and I think it’s fair to say that he’s been able to serve and do all the good work that he’s done and still care for his family. I think, given the situation he was facing, which was another six weeks of campaigning; I think that just ended up not being consistent with what the needs of his family are. And I think that’s the best way to say it,” said Morelle.
Warren wasn’t Morelle’s first choice, but he described the relationship between himself and the City Council President as strong. Morelle said Richards’ announcement allows Warren to avoid, what could have been, a divisive few weeks of campaigning and focus on bringing people together.
“I think Lovely’s interest is unifying the city, unifying the party, and to continue to have the city progress. I’m completely supportive of that, and I’ll be completely supportive of her and her efforts. I’ll lend a hand wherever it’s appropriate,” said Morelle.
Morelle plans to take a few days to reflect on Richards’ accomplishments. He hopes others will join him in doing the same.
“I think people will look back and find that he is a tremendous mayor, who did a lot,” Morelle added.