UPDATE#2, Wednesday, April 24, 9:30 a.m.: Monroe County Democratic Committee chair Joe Morelle sent out a press release last night, responding to the statement from Warren's camp. His statement follows Warren's at the end of this blog.
UPDATE, Tuesday, April 23, 4:15 p.m.:
Lovely Warren's campaign has responded to the MCDC's endorsement of Tom Richards. The statement appears at the end of this blog.
Tom Richards has won the endorsement of the Monroe County Democratic Party in his quest to serve a second term as Rochester mayor. The county’s Democratic Committee sent out a press release this afternoon, making the announcement.
Richards was challenged for the endorsement by City Council President Lovely Warren, who will now have to petition to force a primary in September.
Richards clinched the endorsement last night by winning the support of the 28th and 7th city legislative district committees. The committees represent the ground level of Democratic politics in the City of Rochester and have been meeting over the last several weeks to make their endorsements.
Richards has won 72 percent of committee members’ votes so far, says the press release. Three committees have yet to meet.
Richards’ designation will be made official at the Monroe County Democratic convention next month.
Warren’s loss in the committee process probably isn’t much of a problem. Rochester’s last two mayors before Tom Richards: Bob Duffy and Bill Johnson, weren’t the party’s “chosen” candidates and both forced — and won — primaries to become the Democratic candidate in the November general election.
The loss might even work to Warren’s advantage by reinforcing her “outsider” status: the candidate of the people versus the candidate of the city’s business interests.
STATEMENT FROM WARREN'S CAMP:
“I am astonished by this statement released today by [Democratic leader] Joe Morelle, and frankly surprised that Mayor Richards would sign on to it. What the release does not reveal is that the three committees left to cast their designating votes are the 22nd, 25th and 27th LDs. These committees represent the city’s largest and predominantly African American neighborhoods, and in fact, the 27th LD represents the largest Democratic voting population in the City. In effect, what Joe Morelle and Tom Richards are essentially saying is that the votes and voices of the people in these neighborhoods don’t matter in this process. The diversity of our great party that Mayor Richards referred to is not even close to being reflected in the vote taken thus far.
African-American voters are very aware and very sensitive to that fact that in many places throughout this nation — historically and right up to today — there are those who have worked to discourage black voters from participating in the democratic process; and in many places, people have worked to affirmatively suppress the vote. This lack of understanding, this disconnect, is permeating our city and clearly, our party. Many of the people in our neighborhoods have reported this to be so, as evidenced by the Democrat and Chronicle’s UNITE poll and the ACT Rochester Report. This disconnect, this lack of understanding — this tone-deafness — is among the reasons why many members of the Democratic Committee whose votes have not yet been cast, as well as people in the city of Rochester have embraced Lovely Warren’s campaign."
MORELLE RESPONSE TO WARREN STATEMENT:
"We made our statement to announce Mayor Tom Richards had attained the requisite total amount of weighted committee votes to clinch the designation. He has so far received 72 percent of the total votes and has ensured no matter what the result of the remaining committee designation meetings he will end up with at least 52 percent of the total weighted vote. It was a simple statistical fact.
"The committees set their own schedule for when these designation votes occur. The three committees in question chose to go last, leaving the door open to the possibility that the designation would be clinched before they had the opportunity to vote. I would hope Ms. Warren will understand this was procedural and resist the urge to be divisive."