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Funke won't run in 2020 

Republican state Senator Rich Funke on Tuesday became the latest GOP member of the Senate to declare that he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2020.

Funke, who’s in his third term representing the 55th District, released a YouTube video announcing his decision. The 55th District covers much of Monroe County’s east side, including part of the city, and extends deep into Ontario County.
click to enlarge Senator Rich Funke - FILE PHOTO
  • Senator Rich Funke

In his video, Funke said he wanted to decide when it was time to leave office. “I also believe in term limits, so I will end my time in elected office next year on my own terms," Funke said.

Two Democrats have already stepped forward to run for the seat next year. One of them is Jen Lunsford, a lawyer from Penfield who unsuccessfully challenged Funke in 2018. The other is Samra Brouk, a Rochester resident who has worked in nonprofit leadership and fundraising.

Democrats have an enrollment advantage in the 55th District, with 79,311 active voters to Republicans’ 55,164. But the party has struggled to take the seat. Democrat Ted O’Brien won it in 2012 following redistricting, but he lost it to Funke in 2014.

Both of the declared Democratic candidates have proven themselves savvy and energetic, and the political shift toward the left in Monroe County and elsewhere around the country suggests Funke would have faced a tough fight campaign against either. Democrats are likely to put lots of money and manpower into winning the seat.

Funke, who left a longtime career in television news broadcasting to enter politics, is following in the footsteps of at least eight other Republican senators who have said they won’t seek reelection.

Among that group are the two other senators who represent parts of the City of Rochester, Republicans Joe Robach and Michael Ranzenhofer. Funke, Robach, and Ranzenhofer combined represent all of Monroe County except Sweden, Ogden, and Webster.

Jeremy Moule is CITY's news editor. He can be reached at
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