Despite a party enrollment edge that has grown to nearly 80,000 voters countywide, Monroe County Democrats on Tuesday apparently fell short in their bid to reclaim control of the county Legislature for the first time in roughly three decades.
Unofficial results late Tuesday showed the Republicans picking two seats but losing the one held by Legislature President Joe Carbone. Absentee ballots are yet to be counted, however.
Meanwhile, city voters made it official: Malik Evans, the Council member who defeated incumbent Lovely Warren in the June primary, was elected Rochester mayor. He ran unopposed.
“This is not about me,” he told supporters. “This is about the future of Greater Rochester.”
Competition for the Legislature
Two years ago, the GOP majority in the county Legislature was cut from 18-11 to a one-seat edge. In the same election, Democrat Adam Bello defeated incumbent Republican County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.
Registered Democrats have outnumbered Republicans since 2003, and their advantage increased over the last two years. Democratic Committee chair Zach King told the Beacon shortly before this year’s election that he rated the likelihood of his party regaining control of the Legislature as high. But county Republican chair Bernie Iacovangelo expressed confidence that his party would retain control.
With seven of the 29 seats uncontested and more than half of the remaining districts strongly favoring the incumbent lawmakers, the contest to control the Legislature came down to a handful of races. In the 13th District, incumbent Democrat Michael Yudelson trailed Republican challenger Matt Borkowski, 51 percent to 49 percent—a margin of 158 votes—with all polling sites reporting. Another Democratic incumbent, 26th District lawmaker Yversha Roman, also was losing by two points, or fewer than 100 votes, to the GOP’s Orlando Rivera.
Carbone’s 16th District race against Democratic challenger Dave Long also was close—the two candidates were separated by only 47. If Long’s razor-thin edge is erased by absentee ballots, the GOP’s majority in the Legislature would grow to 17-12.
The Democrats have held control of both the Legislature and the county executive’s office in Monroe County only during a four-year period after the 1987 election. Bello’s win broke the GOP’s grip on the county executive’s office, but the Democrats’ efforts to gain a majority in the Legislature have been repeatedly frustrated.
Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor.