Open warfare appears to have broken out between Monroe County’s Republican and Democratic party organizations. While the conflict so far seems confined to a battle of words, it shows no signs of de-escalation.
In the most recent skirmish, Monroe County Democratic Committee chair Zach King on April 13 fired a salvo at Monroe County Legislature president Joe Carbone, taking issue with a March 31 fundraising appeal in which Carbone, an Irondequoit Republican, claimed that local Democrats’ donor base has deserted and decamped to Republican territory.
That skirmish comes after a March 7 foray in which local Republicans filed a state court complaint aimed at kicking 37 Democrats off the Working Families Party line in the upcoming June primary and November general elections.
In the appeal, Carbone boasts of what he sees as the local GOP’s good chances of unseating Democratic Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. He partly ties his party’s rising fortunes to the sinking fortunes of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is under heavy fire from his own party as well as from Republicans for allegedly harassing women and falsifying the state’s COVID-19 nursing home death numbers.
“With a Democrat governor embroiled in potentially two career-ending scandals, the political pendulum is swinging back Republican. Donors are jumping ship,” Carbone claimed in the fundraising letter, which concluded with a request that recipients contribute to the GOP county lawmaker’s re-election campaign with at least a “symbolic” $50 donation.
Local Democratic donors deserting the party? Not even remotely true, countered King in a statement released Tuesday citing “rumors” of local GOP financial distress.
“I, like so many others, would like proof of that claim, which should be easy to do by looking at the campaign finance reports that both the Monroe County Democratic and Republican Committees filed with the New York State Board of Elections by January 15. MCDC filed ours, and if you check that filing, you’ll see our donors are coming back—and giving more,” King said.
In a further barb, King intimates that the local GOP and not his party might be the one hurting financially.
“You can’t check the Republican filing because, under the leadership of GOP chairman Bernie Iacovangelo and treasurer John Dedes, the Monroe County Republican Committee has not yet filed their first financial disclosure reports for 2021.
“Maybe Democratic donors are, in fact, ‘jumping ship’ to the GOP, but we don’t know for sure because the Monroe County Republicans have not yet filed their financial disclosures. Maybe widely circulating rumors that the Monroe County GOP is six figures in debt are true,” King added.
Iacovangelo could not be immediately reached for comment.
In the Working Families Party flap, a lawsuit alleging filing irregularities by 37 Democratic candidates for local offices asks that the Democrats candidates be kicked off the Working Families Party line in the next primary and general elections.
The Albany Times-Union reported this week that similar lawsuits have been filed by local Republican Party organizations in six other New York counties: Albany, Onondaga, Niagara, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady. Republican candidates in at least three of those counties are seeking to co-opt the Working Families Party line for themselves, the newspaper reported.
The Albany attorney handling the Monroe County lawsuit, Adam Michael Fusco, has served as counsel to New York Assembly Republicans.
Will Astor is Rochester Beacon senior writer.