Morelle beats Singletary in close election

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After a night of delayed election reporting in Monroe County, Rep. Joseph Morelle and Democratic incumbents in several key state legislative races emerged victorious, rebuffing stiff challenges by their Republican opponents, unofficial results show. Gov. Kathy Hochul also won in Monroe County and statewide.

After the polls closed on Tuesday at 9 p.m., the Monroe County Board of Elections was slow to publish vote totals, later announcing that the results would be delayed. As of Wednesday morning, all races were updated with the unofficial result totals.

Morelle’s win

In the 25th Congressional District, unofficial results show Morelle with 53 percent of the vote versus 46 percent for Republican challenger La’Ron Singletary.

While the Associated Press, New York Times, and Morelle himself declared him the victor, Singletary, the former Rochester Police Department chief, initially called for an investigation into the election. Early Wednesday morning his campaign issued this statement:

“Congressional Candidate La’Ron Singletary, tonight has called for an investigation into unprecedented irregularities in our election process. Throughout the evening, several issues came into question regarding the validity of ballots and how they were accounted for and recorded. Until every ballot is accounted for and recorded appropriately, this congressional race is far from over. Every vote should be counted and every voice should be heard.”

At a press conference held later in the day by the Monroe County Board of Elections, officials explained that, as part of a new state law, both early voting and absentee ballots were counted at the same time as Election Day votes. This caused an overload of the system’s bandwidth, and that the delay had no effect on the accuracy of the results.

“You can’t shoot the messengers,” said Monroe County Republican Election Commissioner Lisa Nicolay, who added she personally voted for Singletary. “Unfortunately, Mr. Singletary is not winning right now.”

Following that explanation, Singletary conceded the race and extended “a sincere and heart-felt congratulations” to Morelle.

Currently, the state Board of Elections shows Singletary with 128,502 votes, compared with 148,681 for Morelle. If those results are confirmed, it will be the slimmest margin of victory for Morelle in his three congressional races. In 2020 and 2018, Morelle defeated challengers George Mitris and Robert Maxwell, respectively, with 59 percent of the vote.

Other races

Unofficial state Senate results show 55th District incumbent Democrat Samra Brouk defeated her Republican challenger, Len Morrell, with 58 percent of the vote, versus 42 percent for Morrell. NBCNews10 called the contest in her favor. In the 56th District, incumbent Democrat Jeremy Cooney has a 54-46 percent edge over former Gates Police Chief Jim Vanbrederode. While Cooney declared victory, his Republican challenger had not conceded as of Wednesday morning. 

This was the first state Senate election under new redistricted boundaries, with Cooney’s district swapping western towns like Hilton and Brockport for Henrietta and Brouk’s district now including the town of Webster and the southeast portion of the city of Rochester.

In the state Assembly races across the county, Democratic candidates appear to have won four of seven contested elections. In the 134th District, Republican Josh Jensen ran unopposed. In the closest contest, Democratic incumbent Jen Lunsford led Republican challenger Joseph Chenelly by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

In other races across Monroe County, Republican incumbent Mark Johns won the county legislator seat in Webster with 7,100 votes, or 56 percent, as an unofficial result. Johns is a retired county Department of Health worker who was appointed earlier this year following the resignation of then legislator Matthew Terp. He supports shrinking the size of the county Legislature, which is currently conflicted over redistricting efforts, and making it more active in setting agenda.

Hochul’s win

Hochul, New York’s first female governor, held off a strong challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin, unofficial results show. As of Wednesday morning, she had 53 percent of the vote in Monroe County, slightly more than the 52 percent she garnered statewide. Zeldin did not concede Tuesday night.

Turnout trend

As of Wednesday morning, the unofficial countywide results indicated another turnout decline among registered voters, although early voting was strong.

In Monroe County, midterm election participation has declined in past cycles, bottoming out under 50 percent turnout in 2014. The 2018 midterms rebounded with 280,000 votes or 62 percent participation in the gubernatorial election. This year, the unofficial results indicate there were some 271,000 votes cast in the gubernatorial race or 56 percent participation.

Early voting turnout was relatively strong, however, with 55,000 votes cast, doubling the number recorded to last year. The 2020 presidential election had over 105,000 early votes cast.

While registered voter numbers continue to rise, turnout has not seen similar growth. The 2020 presidential election set a record high with over 380,000 people voting in Monroe County. However, the election turnout that year was 78 percent, which is below the 84 percent average turnout for presidential elections.

Jacob Schermerhorn is a Rochester Beacon contributing writer. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

Story updated 3:15 p.m., 11/9/22

18 thoughts on “Morelle beats Singletary in close election

  1. I was a medical imaging director for most of my 28 years. Converting film departments to digital and team building. Team building required meetings. My ground rule was simple. Bring up any concern, any problem, but after you have voiced that concern, follow it up with a recommendation or solution. Solution based meetings. Those meetings rarely failed me and more important, it rarely failed them. Things were resolved, while not overnight, they would eventually be resolved. As the meetings went on there were less and less items brought up. Eventually we went from a rocky road to a paved highway. I have a program all written to address the education crisis. its in book form along with a power point. I have offered it at no charge. I cannot seem to make them understand that ALL kids have innate skills and gifts. It doesn’t matter where they reside, but if we can have them attend school, if we can show them careers and or professions, if we peak their interest and have them connect the academics (those boring academies) with those careers/professions, they will persevere, they will get a relevant education, one that will allow them to gain a living wage and that will bring them opportunity and choice. That needs to be done with a whole community, in concert. That would be the education personnel, the business community, the religious community, first responders and yes, politicians. Until we can get that education symphony on stage and working together in concert with the conductor, they will keep dropping out, keep losing out and signing on to that dreaded generational poverty route/journey. It can be friggen done. But we all need to pull in the same direction. I think we have reached the bottom when it comes to educating our RCSD youth. It’s time….it’s time. Semper Fi.
    I can be reached at 585-410-0131. (please post this number) OK, Frank, the ball is in your court.

  2. Josh, how does the re-election of Joe Morelle connect with an increase in fentanyl deaths? Perhaps you don’t remember the draconian laws and enforcement in the ’90s that incarcerated tens of thousands of people of color and still didn’t stem the flow of illegal narcotics. We subsequently needed to deal with the oxy problem and now fentanyl, most of which is coming from China. As long as there is demand for illicit drugs, there will be overdoses. Funding for more Narcan in public places is a result of Democratic administrations. Many, if not most, overdose deaths occur in college and suburban communities because of accidental, unwitting drug consumption. Everyone along the political spectrum must do more to slow the demand and educate young people about the dangers of taking any illicit drug that might be laced with a dangerous substance. Prohibition. Border walls never work. More immigration Judges would help much more.
    Regarding affording things, you must concede that the entire planet was adversely impacted by COVID and the shutdown of industries and shipping. Neither political party nor President could have done anything to alter the course of the global economy. It’s true that many other economies worldwide are doing worse than we are. One more thing to consider, Joe Morelle is a relatively new member of Congress and doesn’t yet have much clout. Many of the people in Congress get assignments based on seniority and experience. Mr. Singeltary is new to politics, with no experience, credibility, or record of running. The only reason he got so much support from the Republicans is that he has name recognition, and he would be pliable to Republican leadership mandates. He would not have represented the people he was supposed to represent. Candidly, he may have been promoted to Chief for political and social reasons, such as optics, rather than being a proven administrator. The previous Mayor considered him disposable when she got into political trouble. Politically he should have recognized when he was appointed that he’d be thrown to the sharks as soon as the previous Mayor thought it would help her. We will undoubtedly disagree no matter what, but I hope to clarify just what happened and why from my perspective

  3. Josh, I doubt anyone on either side of the aisle can argue that we don’t have serious challenges in local, state, and national communities. First, it would be fantastic if, while President Biden is in office, Republican members of Congress would partner with him and his Cabinet to offer suggestions on how to address these issues rather than boycott any ideas coming from the left. Perhaps Republicans have no ideas to share, but I doubt it.
    As far as the RCSD’s failure, that’s a decades-long challenge. White Flight in the early ’70s may very well be the root cause of many problems with the school district and the city. Josh, I don’t know if you live in the City, but if you do, why don’t you run for local office and offer up your ideas on how to improve? To be clear, because Rochester is one of New York’s big five, we don’t get to vote directly on our school budgets. We elect the School Board, and they, in turn, vote on a budget that the Administration creates. Subjectivelly, a number of School Commissioners need to be replaced. The extent to which any member of Congress can be involved is limited to voting on federal aid or Member items to fund programs. It’s the State that develops curriculum and standards local districts must follow. As you must know the RCSD is currently being scrutinized by a state appointed monitor, in an effort to turn things around. Among other challenges, the RCSD also has a very powerful teachers union to contend with, that perennially asks for more and more increases in pay and benefits. Teaching undoubtedly is a very difficult job and teachers deserve to be fairly compensated for the work they do. Many of the students attending City schoools have special needs and/or live in poverty. Some parents work two or three jobs just to keep their heads abvove water, and can’t provide some of the enrichment to their children that suburban kids take for granted. Most politicians across the political spectrum are imperfect. Some are on the cusp of insanity , ignorance, greed, immorality etc. and that applies to both parties. But representatives are human and can only do so much to address the many problems this country faces. I’m trying very hard not to personally attack any elected official past or present, but it’s we “the people” who must change and work as hard as we can, collaboratively to solve our many problems. If you or any of the people you support can offer; detailed, concrete and workable solutions, especially regarding how to improve public education in the city, I and I’m sure other readers of the Beacon would LOVE to hear them. Perhaps we could work together at beginning to address them one at a time.

  4. Actually I have promoted ideas for education over the years, some of which have been published. Sadly, conservatives and many suburban liberals have never been interested, whether centrist Dems or the conservative GOP. One main idea is to finally make Brown v. The Board of Education Topeka the law of the land, as separate is not equal. Our scchools in the RCSD are more segregated than they were when that decision was made in 1954.We know in integrated diverse schools all children do better. That means merging RCSD with suburban schools and it means striking down zoning restrictions that keep affordable housing and apartments out of suburbs. Everyone says they want to solve these problems, but protect their little fiefdoms. The hate high taxes , but want 18 different governments, and school systems, and school superintendants, and fire districts in a community of 750,000 people. I even endorsed and backed a Mayor who ran for County Exec based on the “Louisville” plan, a metropolitan government and school system that improved education and reduced costs back then. I have no idea how it is there today. Sadly, he lost because your side likes to scream but offers few real solutions that involve the entire community. The same can be said of many white liberals when the rubber meets the road.
    The door closes on equal opportunity in education, and where we live, with these local governments. They believe they have the right to keep people with less money out of their communities via zoning laws. Too many believe that if they can afford more per pupil in education in their town school system, that this right trumps equal educational opportunity for every child. There was also a time that employer costs were much higher due to actual hiring and training someone for a job, possible with a high school diploma proficient in the three R’s and some technical training. That job training is now often provided by huge college debt,or Labor apprenticeships, or government and non-profits. Companies spending too much investing in employees and training reduces shareholder returns, which now seems to be all that matters. Our last Secretary of Education seemed to be focused on getting tax dollars to religious (Christian) schools. Maybe there are many jobs in the clergy that need to be filled, who knows. Regardless, any possible solutions for the RCSD, even if they were applicable to a Congressional candidate, requires support in the community. Otherwise, we want improvement in RCSD as long as it does not effect my school district or diversity in my community, the case for too many. My Local Union members, all other unions, and many organizations and good people in this community have been directly involved in programs to help students in reading, life problems, pre-apprenticeship programs ( MAPP) and mentoring like Big Brothers/Big Sisters. A candidate for office is never perfect in the voters eyes, but a choice on who aligns most with our views. As I have said, I have had disagreements with Morelle in the past, and I was heard by him, disagree or not. In my view he was clearly the better choice, by far., for Congress. You disagree. I get it.

  5. There are certainly very sound reasons to question the Rochester School District. There are probably some legitimate reasons to criticize Morelle, despite the fact that he’s been an effective legislator at the State and Federal levels. But RCSD’s horrendous problems can’t be laid at his feet. It’s not a federal issue it’s a local and state-level problem. Morelle can’t have a significant impact on the problem. We want our representatives focused on the areas where they can deliver resources and funding to the community and make the complex apparatus of government work in our favor.

    • OK,…your assessment is that Joe Morelle has been effective. If I were in office I would, at the very least, consider some solutions for the RCSD failing. But that would require some leadership, some creativity and some political risk. I guess you’re right Bill, Joe might be better off giving the education system a blind eye. Let someone else worry about it. That is more commonly know as doing things right…………but not doing the right thing. There is an appreciable difference. Sort of like the Good Samaritan who actually walks by the person laying on the side of the road, in trouble, because he isn’t qualified and it isn’t his problem. Or if I can compare it to a tour in the Marines….I’m responsible for the fox hole I’m in, not the next one down. What do you think that attitude would do to any mission in the Corps? If Joe Morelle had any leadership ability he would make the decades of school failure his business. Semper Fi.

      • I guess it depends on whether you prioritize empty rhetoric over tangible change. 8% of the RCSD budget in Federal dollars. Not much fiscal leverage there.

  6. I see you don’t agree with me, or Mr. Orienter, which is fine, because I find no agreement with you. I have had plenty of disagreements with Joe Morelle over 3o years and speak to him face to face on them, including this campaign. We have a large disagreement on health care and on insurance companies, which go back to his days in the Assembly when he was the head of Commitee that regulates Insurance. Voting is the lesser of two evils. Whether in the State Assembly or Congress Joe Morelle has brought many resources to this community for education and jobs. To my knowledge he has never had a position where he runs the schools, teaches in the schools, or has jurisdiction over them. Chief Singletary did have a tough job, which included getting violent people off the streets and reducing killings and violent assaults, which are not involved in bail reform. He failed!!! When Mr. Singletary announced his run for office he could not and would not say who won the election. Trump’s followers injured 140 cops on 1/6/21. Zeldin supported it with his vote and actions and Singletary and Zeldin supported each other. That is not anti-crime and supporting police. Neither one disavowed or distanced themselves from Trump. Every problem you mention has been addressed by Dems with almost everyone of them being stopped by almost all of the GOP voting against anything for the American people. The current administration has confiscated a record amount of fentanyl at the border and arrested 1.5 million people there, a new record. For many voters equal rights and democracy were the most important issues on the ballot. For six years the GOP has been the party of Trump. If Mr. Singletary was elected to Congress he could do nothing for public education except vote on funds.
    Schools are run by States and localities under the law. If Mr. Singletary did not have the courage to disavow Trump and his base, in my view he does not deserve the peoples vote. A Trump rally with Confederate flags, bigoted sign and shirts, and Nazi flags is nothing but a 21st century Klan rally with a dash of 1930’s Germany added. The danger is it is now supported by millions, not a couple of hundred like I saw at Klan rallies or American Nazi rallies under Rockwell, like I saw in high school. Disagree if you will, but democracy and equal rights is the number one issue for many.

    • Can’t stop “trumping” can you. That is the extend of your argument. The excuse for a failing education system is that it is not Joe Morelle’s responsibility. Thank God it is not, because he doesn’t have the leadership it is going to take to get that done. Decades of educational failure is what is driving the demise of the City of Rochester. But lucky for Joe it is not his responsibility. I don’t know if you know it but our country is in deep trouble and our current President is a Joe as well. I want this administration,….this one,…with the individuals in charge to resolve our woes. There are plenty of them. That pointing to trump is such a waste of time. I could name all the issues that we currently have in these United States. Instead, I’m going to name just one that resides in Rochester….A FAILING EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. RCSD fails annually and it has foe decades. You cannot deny that. So fix it! FIX IT. Joe has to be relieved that he doesn’t have anything to do with the education issue. And with his leadership shown to date, so am I.

  7. Joe Morelle is a hardworking, politically savvy, progressive liberal (in the sense of FDR and Hubert Humphrey), and effective legislator following in the footsteps of the revered Louise Slaughter. Former Police Chief Singletary was a formidable foe, who might have been more successful if he had been a Rockefeller Republican, who would today be unwelcome the NYS GOP, which seems to have wandered afar in the Trumpian sense. I am a proud Democrat to have been fortunate to toil with Joe in the political vineyards.

    …..Nick Robfogel/

    • …and Nick Robfogel, it’s not about Trump, unless you really need someone else besides the Party in charge to blame. The Dems are clearly in charge, have been in NYS for a while now. So why this trump-addiction? Trump has zero, nada, no impact on or in this NYS. Need I point to the education failure,….a big time failure. Decades of failure. That failure is going to going to come back to bite us. That failure is owned by the Democratic Machine. Just in case you missed the report on the status of the education in the RCSD…….check it out on WHEC. It dooms the city of Rochester.

  8. I can’t underestimate the devastating impact of Trump and his followers. If nothing else, all the wasted time and money that’s gone into his two impeachments, the 1/6 insurrection, and now a whole host of potential added legal entanglements caused by his purloining of classified materials is unprecedented. The partisan one-upmanship kept anything from being legislated. Then there are all the election deniers, and recounts and lawsuits generated by Trump’s followers slow down the entire operation of our Republic. If the leaders of the Republican party had been more committed to governing rather than just winning, they would never have nominated Trump in the first place. There were plenty of highly qualified candidates that could have been nominated. I agree that the issues raised are important, but things like border control require multilateral cooperation and, frankly, investment in judges and immigration public defenders, not building a wall. Economics is currently the driving force in this country. No matter who the leader is, we can’t control it. COVID was a global disaster, which by the way, if Trump hadn’t pulled scientists working collaboratively in China on these types of pathogens, perhaps we could have been better prepared, and over a million Americans wouldn’t have needlessly died. Every nation in the world is dealing with inflation. Perhaps Trump’s secret meeting with his buddy Putin helped motivate Putin to invade Ukraine, which also caused worldwide chaos due to an unprovoked war. Trump is a misfit and dangerous and should never hold any elected office again. Those who seek his financial or political aid should also be treated as a pariah. We must move past our partisan divide and look for and embrace everything we all have in common.

  9. I just love (not really) these people that constantly refer to MAGA. I happened to be an independent and tire of people that use the Trump excuse to vote for incompetence on that basis alone. Chief Singletary has been in a previous position that was extremely stressful and in this particular community, important. You know why? Because the City of Rochester is riddled with those who dropped out of a failing school system, into the streets and he was the Police Chief in charge (under the Mayor) of managing that crime. If Joe Morelle had done his job in addressing that failing education it would have gone a long way toward reducing that crime and generational poverty. But Joe Morelle is a Party man. He ducks, swerves, dodges and gives great speeches, but accomplishes nothing other than keeping the Party happy with his presence behind his desk. Apparently he ether doesn’t care or doesn’t understand the importance, the foundational importance of the K-12 journey for our youth. He will now go on doing nothing and will see if he can hang on one more tour at the expense of our youth. We seem to have plenty of individuals that care more about the Party than the issues. Isn’t political office great? The only time you need to really work…….is campaigning. Joe can go back to sleep now.

  10. I long for the days when legislators were honorable and conceded with grace. Candidates who didn’t prevail often shook hands with the person elected to represent citizens. The tactic of prolonging the election official’s announcement of a certified winner accomplishes the goals designed by Republican strategists to cast doubt on the results in the minds of their supporters. This approach gradually chips away at our most cherished right. The right to choose who represents the citizens of our unique Democratic Republic. It’s insidious and despicable. There may be very few instances where results come in mere ten or a few hundred votes apart, and asking for a recount is legitimate. But those situations are few and far between. Republicans, especially those who are Trump idealogues, please stop your efforts to support a would-be dictator.

    • Apparently your longing for the day has come……he did concede and congratulated Joe. And then…..surprise!! Another Trump shot. I don’t necessarily care for Trump. I do care for this nation. That said, I can’t stand the individuals that have nothing more in their intellect than pointing to Trump. Their stand in the arena of politics is,…….I’ll even go as far as to destroy our Republic, as long as Trump is not the man. At some point realize that government is not, does not, revolve around one personality. In the mean time our economy, our border, our military, our strategic reserve, our fentanyl scourge, our energy policy etc. etc. remain thee issues. They don’t resolve themselves, by not voting for Trump. I think you’ll see a doubling down on those issues.

  11. Both Singletary and Zeldin have not conceded, showing they are really radical MAGA. It is not close. Does it make anyone else wonder about Zeldin’s vote to not certify the election on January 6th to install the loser? Does it make anyone else curious about La’Ron’s honesty regarding Daniel Prude? Just wondering.

    • Let’s see, Make America Great Again. You just keep wondering about what is happening to our Nation James Bertolone. I’m betting that you would finally say, enough, when the fentanyl that is crossing our open southern border by the tons kills one of your family members or friends. What you would finally say when crime enters your home uninvited. When you can’t meet the grocery bill or the home-heating bill, when your kids apply for college and they can’t meet the academic demands, when a RCSD system fails our kids decade after decade, when the crime and the drugs are a daily news story,….oh wait, it’s already here. None of that is political in nature, it’s social ignorance. It’s carrying a banner for your Party that doesn’t get the job done. I’m an independent. I closely watch and listen to the sabre rattling and pick and chose my candidates very carefully. That would include their accomplishments. What has been accomplished by either Party in the Rochester, NY area? Same team voted in again and again….expecting different results. The definition of insanity. Now get off your trump horse and make a difference in your community. Trump is not in office, Joe is.

      • You know nothing about what you are saying. My freshman college loan came from a National program where your family had to be under the poverty level. I began burying friends in the 1960’s and 70’s from the heroin epidemic and Vietnam. We joked we could hold our high school reunions in the cemetary because more of us where there. I have been to a number of funerals for young people of family and friends who died from the opiod/fetanyl crisis. I am still an active advocate and engaged as an over 70 retiree. I have yet to see the conservatives or neo-liberals solve any long term problem. As has been suggested , if you have solutions run for school board or help someone who agrees. I gave you what I have fought for in education and segregation and still fight for. Let me know when you are part of something besides repeated attacks on this page on others. Same party? The Dems Child Care Tax Credit lifted 40% of poor kids over the poverty level, including Rochester, then the GOP killed it. I am not a main stream democrat and once was an independent , but that did not allow me to vote in a primary. Crime is always bbad when one is the victim. The hard drugs and violent crime problem has been around for generations at least, and is about half as bas as 30 years ago. Same team voted in again and again in wealthy white suburbs and their kids are now dying of overdoses. What does that even mean. You want to contribute, I’m with you. Just attacking others does not get a thing done for the RCSD or the community. Joe Biden was not my choice in the primaries and I worked for my candidate and candidates. He got the nomination and it was not a choice of the lesser of two evils, but a choice of normal versus evil.
        Get involved beyond talk. Go for it.

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