Working Families Party

The WFP Finds A Way To Praise Cuomo

The labor-backed Working Families Party is decidedly lukewarm on giving Gov. Andrew Cuomo its ballot line as he runs for re-election.

Indeed, the party, which has never run a candidate of its own, has not ruled out endorsing someone else this election year as its rank-and-file remain restive over Cuomo’s fiscal agenda over the last three years.

Nevertheless, the WFP found a way to give Cuomo some props this week, praising his signing of a measure that would add New York to the states in the national popular vote compact.

Here’s the statement, released last night:

“Today’s signing advances the effort to reclaim the democratic value of a New Yorker’s vote on the highest level. Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature provide momentum to a National Popular Vote effort designed to rescue the vast majority of states from irrelevancy in our presidential contests. For too long, the the status quo has penalized New York for being progressive. Today’s move brings us towards a fairer, more just system of electing our President where one person really does equal one vote,” said Bill Lipton, State Director for the Working Families Party.

A thaw? Perhaps not. But it’s a sign the WFP and Cuomo relationship while strained isn’t completely broken just yet.

Hawkins To WFP: Nominate Me

As the Working Families Party mulls whether to grant Gov. Andrew Cuomo its ballot line this election year, Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins has an unusual proposal: They should nominate him.

Hawkins, a Syracuse-based activist who ran for governor on the Green Party line in 2010 and secured nearly 60,000 votes, was in Albany on Wednesday to officially announce his campaign.

He predicted the election was going to be decided on economic issues — an issue where Cuomo and his likely Republican opponent Rob Astorino, in Hawkins’ view, aren’t all that far apart.

“Cuomo and Astorino are very similar on their fiscal policies, it’s just a matter of degree,” Hawkins said. “It’s really about the economic policies they want to pursue.”

Hawkins says he wants a $15 minimum wage and a complete ban on high-volume hydrofracking, which currently lies in limbo at the state level.

Organizations on the left have been vocally unhappy with Cuomo and the $138 billion budget agreement in particular (self-identified liberal voters, however, continue to give Cuomo strong support, according to a recent Siena College poll).

Still, the Working Families Party hasn’t ruled giving its ballot line for governor to someone else when delegates meet at its convention next month.

Hawkins at a news conference suggested a partnership between the Greens and the WFP — providing that the latter is serious.

“I think they should run against Cuomo,” Hawkins said. “I think they should nominate me. There’s enough votes out there for both of us to get our line back.”

The move would require a waiving or change of the Green Party’s rules against fusion ballot sharing, but Hawkins suggested the discontent with Cuomo among liberal activists could help both the Greens and the WFP.

“If they’re serious about doing a protest vote against Andrew Cuomo and really doing some damage, we’re ready to talk,” Hawkins said. “Unfortunately, I think there whole strategy to be a lobby inside the Democratic Party. We’ll see in the end if they’re going to do that.”

The WFP is supported by liberal organizations as well as the labor movement. Hawkins said it will be a difficult lift for the WFP to not back Cuomo.

In meantime, Hawkins said the Green Party nominee, as well as any candidate that achieves ballot access this year, should be allowed to participate in a debate.

He noted the 2010 debate — which included Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is 2 Damn High Party as well as Kristin Davis, the so-called Manhattan madam, running for governor — featured “novelty” candidates.

“I think you got to have a standard, that’s an objective reasonable standard,” Hawkins said of the ballot access for participation. “It’s up to the voters to decide and not the media to decide we’re only going to have some included.”

(For the record, McMillan is running for governor again this year. So is comedian/drug law reform activist Randy Credico, who is a registered Democrat, and so – assuming he gets onto the ballot – is mounting a primary challenge to Cuomo).

WFP Backs Rice in NY-4 (Updated)

The Working Families Party this morning announced its support for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s bid for the Long Island House seat of retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

“Kathleen Rice has been resolute in her fight to take on a corrupt culture of pay-to-play politics in the state and give average New Yorkers a voice,” said Bill Lipton, state director for the Working Families Party. “As a prosecutor, she has a proven record of delivering bad apples to justice and she’ll bring that same determination to her work on behalf of Long Island’s working families.”

WFP’s Long Island Political Director Jess Carrano also cited Rice’s support for the so-called “Raise the Age” campaign (the push to stop trying some youthful offenders as adults) and campaign finance reform – especially the creation of a publicly funded system.

Rice was one of the three co-chairs of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s corruption-busting Moreland Commission, which recommended (though not unanimously) public campaign finance as a remedy for the never-ending corruption scandals in Albany and NYC. Rice stepped down from her commission post after announcing her congressional campaign.

Much of the labor and Democratic establishment has lined up behind Rice in this race. But she’s not the only Democrat in the running.

Nassau Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams is also seeking the party’s nod to run in the November general election.

The Nassau County Democratic Party is remaining neutral in the June primary. Ditto the DCCC, whose leader, Rep. Steve Israel, is also a Long Islander. UPDATE: Daily Kos notes that the DCCC has put Rice on its “Red to Blue” fundraising list, which certainly qualifies as support.  But I haven’t seen a formal endorsement from Israel himself…perhaps I missed it? UPDATE: Israel is personally supporting Rice, but he’s also not discouragin Abrahams from mounting his primary bid.

WFP’s Cantor For Governor?

Could the unhappiness felt by the left since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in January 2011 result in the labor-backed Working Families Party running someone other than Cuomo on its ballot line this fall?

That subject was broached last Friday at a WFP affiliates meeting held at NYSUT’s headquarters outside Albany, according to a source who was present for the discussion.

This source described the room as “unreceptive” to the idea of endorsing Cuomo for re-election without a “big” campaign win – like, say, creation of a public campaign finance system, or giving municipalities the ability to raise the local minimum wage, neither of which looks terribly likely this session.

The room was receptive to a proposal that the WFP run someone else for governor on Row D – a gamble, given the fact that the party risks losing its hard-won ballot placement if its candidate doesn’t perform well, and could lose its ballot status altogether if the candidate fails to win at least 50,000 votes.

When discussion turned to who might be able to raise enough cash to mount a credible campaign and also attract a sufficient number of votes, the name of the WFP’s national director, Dan Cantor, was floated. According to the source, the room was “receptive” to the possibility of a Cantor candidacy, though no formal vote was taken.

“There was a discussion about whether to explore giving him the line, and then someone noted that Dan is the embodiment of the party, and people were like, ‘That’s a great idea!’ But there was no motion and no vote,” the source said.

Cantor was not present for the meeting. According to his email “away” message, he is out of the country until Feb. 19 on a “paid vacation.”

It would be a pretty ballsy move for the WFP to run someone other than Cuomo on its line, since it has made a tradition of cross-endorsing statewide Democratic candidates. (At the local level, things are a little looser, with the party sometimes backing insurgent Democrats in primaries or, in the case of NYC Public Advocate Tish James’ initial election to the City Council, running candidates all its own).

It’s unclear if Cuomo will even seek the WFP line, though I assume he would want as many lines as possible heading into his first re-election bid. The governor hasn’t even formally announced his candidacy, though he has been raising campaign cash like it’s going out of style, and it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that he’s running.

Cuomo made the WFP sweat in 2010 when he initially declined to accept the party’s nomination, in large part due to the fact that it was under investigation by the US attorney’s office for work done by its now-defunct for-profit arm, Data & Field Services, during the 2009 NYC elections.

The party put a placeholder candidate, Kenneth Schaeffer, a legal Legal Aid lawyer, United Auto Workers member, and a longtime WFP member and activist on its line in June. In September, Cuomo agreed to run on the line (then Row D) – but only after the WFP agreed to embrace his “New New York Agenda” in full, even though it contained elements – like the property tax cap and a wage freeze for public employees – that its affiliates didn’t like.

The WFP largely sat out the battle over the so-called millionaire’s tax, which other lefties were pushing very hard to see reinstated in full to offset the deep health care and education spending cuts Cuomo had proposed. A scaled down version of the PIT increase was included in Cuomo’s tax reform deal with the Legislature in late 2011.

Since then, however, the WFP has started flexing its muscles again in Albany – particularly after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s big win last fall. The party is engaged in a number of policy battles, including de Blasio’s push for the power to tax rich NYC residents to pay for universal pre-K in the five boroughs.

WFP Leaders Line Up Behind Ball Challenger

From the morning memo, ICYMI:

Yesterday, Sen. Greg Ball led the charge against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal for a municipal ID card that would be provided to any resident of the five boroughs, regardless of their immigration status.

Ball, an outspoken Hudson Valley Republican, called this a “hare-brained” scheme cooked up by a “crazed” mayor. He even suggested de Blasio could be guilty of a federal crime for “aiding and abetting” terrorists, who no doubt would rush to avail themselves of ID cards.

The senator plans to hold a Feb. 28 hearing on de Blasio’s proposal, which, unlike the controversial idea of letting undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses, does not require approval from the state.

De Blasio’s Democratic and progressive allies rushed to his defense, including the labor-backed Working Families Party, whose Hudson Region Political Director Ari Kamen said:

“Shame on Greg Ball for his deplorable anti-immigrant comments essentially describing the Mayor of New York City as an accomplice to terrorists. Senator Ball has spent his career vilifying hardworking immigrants who come to America for a better life. The Mayor’s ID proposal is a humane way for society to treat its residents.”

Today, the WFP is taking things one step further by issuing a statement in support of Ball’s Democratic challenger, Justin Wagner.

“Wagner is a progressive champion who cares deeply about Hudson Valley’s working families,” said WFP New York State Director Bill Lipton. “His focus on creating good jobs, fixing Albany, and fighting for the middle and working-class will resonate strongly in the district.”

Technically speaking, this is not an endorsement, for which there is a formal process that comes after petitioning ends in July. But it is a sign that Wagner is all but assured the WFP ballot line in his second attempt to unseat Ball.

Wagner had the Democratic, WFP and Green lines in the 2012 campaign, but Ball, who was running on the GOP, Independence and Conservative lines, still managed to win re-election.

Ball has not yet announced his intention to seek another term this fall, and is widely speculated to be eyeing a potential run for Putnam County executive, which would mean he might mount a primary challenge against his fellow Republican and former aide, incumbent County Executive MaryEllen Odell.

Progressives Unite To Support Caucus Agenda

A coalition of so-called progressive advocacy organizations – including a number of powerful labor unions and the labor-backed Working Families Party – has formed a new entity to support and push for the wide-reaching liberal agenda proposed this session by the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

People for New York is loosely designed on the concept behind the now-defunct Committee to Save New York, which was funded by deep-pocketed business and real estate interests in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top policy proposals (pension and tax reform, the property tax cap etc.) in the early years of his governship. Also involved: Left-leaning nonprofits and advocacy groups like Make the Road NY, Citizen Action and Strong Economy for All.

The Committee to Save New York was quietly phased out when stricter donor disclosure rules approved by the Legislature as part of an early Cuomo-pused ethics reform package kicked in. But before it folded, the committee spent millions of dollars – mostly on TV ads – to push the more fiscally conservative elements of Cuomo’s agenda.

A source involved in creating People for New York said this group won’t be raising or spending big money, but will be lending outside support to the caucus as it pushes for a range of issues – some of which Cuomo is on board with (like the property tax circuit breaker), and some of which he is not (like marijuana decriminalization, which the governor said just yesterday is no longer a top priority).

“We’re sending a message to the Governor that a progressive agenda is New York’s agenda,” the source said.

That same source forwarded the invite that appears below to a post-State of the State reception that People for New York is hosting in Albany, at which a number of speakers will be giving their reactions to the governor’s speech.

In addition, coalition members will be handing out “score cards” so speech attendees can grade Cuomo on a variety of issues – from the DREAM Act and education funding to campaign finance reform and the acceleration of the minimum wage hike, which Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has already said will be a priority for his Democratic conference this session.

WFP Touts Upstate Victories

Much has been made of the ascendancy of the Working Families Party in New York city since this Tuesday’s elections. Between Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Tish James, the labor-backed third party will certainly not be lacking for allies at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

But the party is also touting is success outside the city in some more low-key races, many of which (with the exception of local media) flew under the radar.

In an email to supporters sent out yesterday afternoon, WFP State Director Bill Lipton reiterated that the party has been playing a “long game” with its “Progressive Pipeline” program by nuturing candidates at the local level in hopes of seeing them either 1) start a trend that results in more like-minded candidates running for – and winning – elected office, or 2) rising to a higher post with more clout.

Lipton singled out several races around the state in which the WFP played a role, including;

- The city of Plattsburgh, where two WFP-backed candidates – Rachelle Armstrong, a NYSUT member and teacher of 23 years; and Mike Kelly – won seats on the Council.

- The city of Syracuse, where, as Lipton wrote: “After eking out a victory against Howie Hawkins with only a few dozen votes two years ago, Khalid Bey won re-election in the Syracuse Common Council’s 4th District loud and clear, with nearly 500 votes. The difference this time? WFP, which, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, ‘coordinated an intensive get-out-the-vote effort on his behalf during the past few weeks’ to help Bey get over the top.”

- The Town of Hamburg. The WFP’s Erie County Legislature candidate Mike Schraft came up just short against an incumbent Independent that caucuses with the Republicans. But another WFP favorite, Mike Quinn, an Army veteran, won a Town Board seat.

- Long Island. The WFP failed in its bid to unseat Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (it backed Democrat Tom Suozzi), but saw another candidate, Anthony Eramo, a registered WFP member, win a seat on the Long Beach City Council.

- The Town of Rosendale. Lipton, who grew up upstate, wrote: “Jen Metzger, who lost to a Republican the last time around, handily won her race for Council by hundreds of votes yesterday, showing what a difference the WFP can make. We look forward to seeing Metzger thriving as a smart, progressive legislator and an embodiment of the model that WFP hopes to replicate all over the state.”

- Orange County. “Shannon Wong won the most visible election for Orange County legislature this year, and her successful experience as an advocate for women’s rights give her the potential to become one of the most effective legislators in the county. She attracts a broad base of progressive support and we think she has great potential going forward,” Lipton wrote.

- Yonkers and Ulster and Dutchess Counties. “Gerard Lyons lost a tough rematch for Ulster County Legislature by only a few dozen votes, and Rocky Richard is down in her race, not fully tallied, for Westchester County Legislature. Francena Amparo is down by a handful of votes with absentee ballots yet to be counted.”

Savino Pitches For WFP

Sen. Diane Savino, a member of the breakaway Senate conference blamed by any number of her fellow Democrats – including Gov. Andrew Cuomo – for the death of “progressive” legislation in the chamber this past legislative session, is urging New Yorkers to vote on the uber-liberal Working Families Party line tomorrow.

“As an early supporter of the Working Families Party and a member of the New York State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, I have always believed that voters should have choice,” Savino said in a statement released by her campaign committee this afternoon.

“For over 15 years the WFP has been the progressive voice for working class and middle class New Yorkers, it was founded to fight for good jobs, affordable housing and quality schools. I am urging people to vote for Democrats Bill deBlasio, Tish James and Scott Stringer on the Working Families Party line. So make your vote stand something, remember to vote for the Democrats on row D, VOTE WFP!”

Despite the fact that she has thrown in her lot with the Independent Democratic Conference that enabled the Senate Republicans to remain in power (a move that has a personal component, given the fact that she is dating IDC Leader Jeff Klein), Savino has a long history with the labor movement – one that predates her election to the Senate in 2004.

Savino began her career in public service as a caseworker for NYC’s Child Welfare Administration. She was an active member of her local labor union, DC 37, and eventually became its the vice president for political action and legislative affairs.

The WFP is poised to win big tomorrow with NYC mayoral frontrunner de Blasio, whom the labor-backed party has supported throughout his career. (De Blasio has a long history with organized labor, and is the cousin of John Wilhelm, the former president of Unite Here).

Savino’s embracing of the WFP is yet another on a quickly growing list of “screw yous” from the IDC (well, mostly Klein) to Cuomo. The governor has had a rocky relationship with the WFP, and actively tried to neuter it (and other minor parties) earlier this year by proposing an end to the Wilson Pakula process, which would have robbed third party leaders of the power to control who gets their endorsement. (Note: I originally wrote that Cuomo proposed doing away with fusion voting, which is the bread-and-butter of minor parties. He did not. But minor party leaders found the idea he did float almost as onerous).

The WFP has weathered its share of challenges over the past several years. Cuomo made the party sweat it out in 2010 while he delayed accepted its endorsement due to a US attorney’s office investigation into the actions of its now defunct for-profit arm, Data and Field Services, in the 2009 NYC elections.

The feds found no wrongdoing, and Cuomo did accepted the WFP line – but not before forcing the party to accept his New New York Agenda in full, including a number of proposals that were not popular in progressive labor circles like the property tax cap and wage freezes for state workers.

Though the WFP is out of the woods with the feds, it remains in the crosshairs of a special prosecutor requested by Staten Island DA Dan Donovan in 2011. That special prosecutor, Roger Adler, told the Daily News he expects to convene a grand jury shortly after Veterans  Day as part of his probe into allegations the WFP illegally gave candidates below-cost campaign-related services in 2009.

Richards’ Press Conference Does Little To Curb Speculation

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.

Supporters Try To Re-Elect Rochester’s Mayor On Their Own

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.