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The City Democratic Committee has given its backing to Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards in his primary campaign against City Council President Lovely Warren.
The endorsement will be made formally next month at the Monroe County Democratic convention, party leaders said Tuesday.
“The overwhelming support for Mayor Richards expressed by the City Democratic Committee is an indication that the people of Rochester strongly approve of his leadership these past two years,” said Joseph Morelle, Monroe County Democratic Committee chairman, in a statement.
Candidates must win a majority of the citywide weighted vote to earn the party’s formal endorsement. Richards has 72 percent of the vote so far, enough to clinch the designation with three committees still to meet, party leaders said.
“The Democratic Party is as diverse as our great city, and I hope its trust in me is a reflection of my commitment to move our city forward, together, as one community,” Richards said in the statement.
The Warren campaign released a statement saying the remaining three committees represent the city’s largest and predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
“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 Warren campaign said. “The diversity of our great party that Mayor Richards referred to is not even close to being reflected in the vote taken thus far.
“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.”
Richards, who replaced Robert Duffy as mayor after Duffy resigned to become lieutenant governor, announced in February he would run for a four-year term.
Warren announced her candidacy March 22. Green Party candidate Alexander White announced Feb. 11.
Monroe County Republicans have yet to announce a mayoral candidate.
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