[UPDATE 12:10 p.m.] Mayor Tom Richards has released the following statement:
"On September 17 I announced that I was ending my campaign for re-election due to personal circumstances that demanded my attention. That continues to be true following the passing of my son Matthew.
At the time of my announcement, I also stated that I was not going to entertain political speculation. That also continues to be true. Since that time, I have been concentrating my time on my family and on my job as Mayor. I have not had any conversations with any political party leader regarding the mayoral election.
The announcement I made on September 17 was a commitment that I made and it remains so. In the coming days, I will concentrate on the matters that are important to our city's future and I look forward to seeing my new granddaughter for the first time."
After losing last month's Democratic primary, Mayor Tom Richards ended his campaign, citing a family illness. His son, Matthew, died not long afterward. Since then, some groups who had originally backed Richards switched their allegiance to Democratic candidate Lovely Warren, although Richards remains on the ballot on the Working Families and Independence lines. Alex White is the Green Party candidate for mayor.
But last night, the Independence Party of Monroe County sent out a press release urging voters to cast their ballots for Richards. (After the jump is the statement that party chair Steve Corryn sent out last night)
On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, all Rochester residents will have the opportunity to re-elect Tom Richards as mayor. Tom Richards is being supported by the Monroe County Independence Party. Any voter of any party can vote on the Independence line, where Mayor Tom Richards appears on Row 6E.
It is true that Tom Richards made a commitment to his family to not campaign during the difficult time with the loss of his son — a decision we all can fully understand. However, that does not mean that he is not willing to continue to serve the Rochester community. Upon re-election, Mayor Richards will have the opportunity to continue to implement the strategies and policies that have been moving our city in a very positive direction.
To date, Tom Richards has done a great job of steering our city away from bankruptcy. While other cities see massive cuts in police, fire and other services, Mayor Richards has worked to maintain these essential services that contribute to the safety and security we experience in our community. We need an experienced and proven leader to continue to advocate for our quality of life in this great city.
The Independence Party believes the true vote happens in November. We support the re-election of Mayor Tom Richards. We encourage every eligible voter to cast their vote on November 5. You have a choice, and, now more than ever, your vote counts.
If you'd like to join the Independence Party and the many city residents who have contacted me and urged me to support Mayor Richards, please visit www.TurnOutForTom.com and find out how you can help!
Democratic leaders have said that they're backing City Council President Lovely Warren, who won the September primary. Since the city is a Democratic Party stronghold, Warren is the favorite to win the election. It's unlikely that the Independence Party will be able to convince enough voters to back a mayoral candidate who isn't campaigning, but stranger things have happened.