On Election Day, former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary quietly filed as a candidate with the Federal Election Commission. Today, he publicly announced the office he is seeking: the 25th Congressional District seat held by Democratic Rep. Joe Morelle.
Singletary’s declaration comes a little more than a year after he was fired as police chief by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in the wake of controversy over the city police department’s handling of the Daniel Prude case. Prude died after being place in RPD custody. The Monroe County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.
In his bid to unseat Morelle next November, Singletary will run as a Republican. In his announcement today, he said he had been encouraged seek office by Monroe County Republican chair Bernie Iacovangelo and former state Sen. Joe Robach, a onetime Democrat who switched parties.
“In your next congressman, we need a leader who will not be afraid to speak out on important issues that impact our community,” Singletary said. “In your next congressman, we need a unifier that will work with all politicians that impact our community. As your next congressman, I will work hard for you every day just like I did when I was a police officer and police chief of this community.”
Morelle has represented the 25th District since late 2018, winning a special election after the death of longtime Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter and then a full two-year term. In both elections, he defeated GOP nominee Jim Maxwell. Morelle was re-elected in the November 2020 contest against Republican George Mitris. Before running for Congress, Morelle served in the state Assembly for nearly 30 years, including as majority leader.
Singletary, a Rochester native, joined the RPD in 2000 and rose through the ranks. He became police chief in June 2019. He described himself as a “chief for everyone,” and worked to build trust in the community.
In challenging Morelle, the former police chief is taking on someone who has received nearly 60 percent of the vote in each of his three congressional elections. He also is running in a district where Democrats now have a sizable advantage over Republicans among eligible voters—42 percent vs. 26 percent.
With Republicans’ strong showing on Tuesday, though many national political observers say the Democrats’ majority in the House of Representatives is at risk.
Singletary, in his announcement and in positions outlined on a campaign website, focused on mainstream issues such as the economy, public safety and education.
“There is a huge disconnect between Washington and Main Street, and you and I are feeling the pinch,” Singletary said. “You work hard for your money, and it’s time for someone to start working hard for you. And if you elect me to be your next congressman, I promise to you I will work hard and every point of this district will have a voice and their solutions represented.”
In a statement responding to Singletary’s announcement, Morelle said “there will be a time for politics, but that day is hardly today. I remain focused on providing real solutions that hardworking families in our community deserve.”
Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor.