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City Councilmember Malik Evans announces run for mayor 

click to enlarge City Council member Malik Evans: “I don’t believe in exercises in futility.”

FILE PHOTO

City Council member Malik Evans: “I don’t believe in exercises in futility.”

Malik Evans, a member of the Rochester City Council and former president of the Rochester Board of Education, has launched a campaign to challenge Mayor Lovely Warren as she seeks a third term in office.

Evans, a Democrat, announced his candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a recorded video message and news releases sent to media that touched on themes of "building bridges" and "trust and transparency."

"We must build bridges in our community, and this starts with building trust and transparency at City Hall," Evans said in his video in which he is shown walking along a sun-dappled Genesee River and mingling with everyday city residents who speak to his ability to "build bridges."
Evans was elected to City Council in 2017 after a long tenure on the Board of Education. He was elected an education commissioner in 2003, and served as the board president from 2008 to 2013.

Given Evans' name recognition and record of public service, his mayoral candidacy became the most potent and serious threat to a third Warren administration term literally over night, despite his trailing in fundraising by a wide margin.

A campaign account for his mayoral run has yet to be filed with the state Board of Elections, but his current City Council campaign account showed a balance of $308 as of Tuesday, including an outstanding loan to himself in the amount of $2,500.

By contrast, Warren's campaign account, Friends of Lovely Warren, had a balance of nearly $122,000.

Still, Warren is seeking a third term under extraordinary challenges, including the fallout of her administration's handling of the death of Daniel Prude at the hands of Rochester police and an ongoing criminal election fraud case against her.

Warren and two campaign associates face a pair of felony charges, including illegal coordination between political committees for the purpose of evading donor limits and participating in a scheme to defraud in the first degree. Each of them has maintained their innocence.

The Warren campaign issued a statement Monday in response to Evans' announcement that suggested Evans, a Black man, was following in a long line of Black men who seek to unseat Black women in power. 

"We’ve prepared for this moment," the statement read. "All over the country unfortunately it’s been our brothers that have been first in line to take on sisters. The powers that be playbook hasn’t changed since the days of slavery. We know our ancestors are looking down upon us and asking when will our people learn.

"The Warren Campaign is committed to breaking these generational curses. We will run on our record of service and our record of results," the statement went on. "We’re confident that He who delivered us two victories before will deliver us another victory."

Warren has a strong track record in Democratic primaries.

She trounced her primary competition during her re-election bid in 2017, besting former Monroe County Legislator James Sheppard and Rachel Barnhart, who his now a county legislator, with 62 percent of the vote.

Warren catapulted to the Mayor's Office in 2013 when she, as City Council president, upset Mayor Thomas Richards in a Democratic primary.

David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.
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