Rochester's mayor is refusing to endorse a fellow Democrat in the race for county executive. Lovely Warren also left the door open to endorse the Republican candidate.
When asked today if she will endorse Democratic nominee Sandra Frankel, the former Brighton supervisor, Warren said, "I don't know about endorsing anyone for county executive at this point in time. I'm talking to both Sandy Frankel and the other candidates and we'll see what happens."
News 8 asked the mayor if that means she could endorse Republican Cheryl Dinolfo, who is the county clerk.
"No actually, I may not. I have not thought about that race. I've been thinking about running the city of Rochester and committing to the citizens of Rochester."
St. John Fisher political science professor Jim Bowers, who once challenged Warren for a city council seat, said there's a reason Warren may not end up helping Frankel. He said she retains more power and control in city government if Republicans run the county.
"The Warren-Gantt faction is taking a very narrow view of what their governing responsibilities are in favor of their interests in simply having partisan control of the city," Bowers said.
Warren could attempt influence a race beyond giving an endorsement. She has a campaign account that's about eight times the size of her party's. She could also get her base to the polls.
"If you do not endorse the Democratic candidate, you are also telling city voters and in her case predominantly African-American voters, not to vote for the Democratic candidate, so you can see this as a potential effort to depress the Democratic party vote in the city to even further enhance the likelihood of a Republican candidate winning," Bowers said.
Sources say Warren may go a step farther and endorse Dinolfo before the November election. This would be a different scenario than when current Republican County Executive Maggie Brooks endorsed Warren in her bid for mayor. That's because Warren wasn't facing a GOP challenger.
Brooks said she is towing the party line and endorsing Dinolfo.
"I have supported (Dinolfo), some of her fundraising efforts. I'm a team player and I think my track record demonstrates I support our candidate," said Brooks.
Warren's hesitancy to endorse Frankel comes at a time when the local Democratic party is in turmoil. The last chairman resigned after less than a year in the job. A new chairwoman was recently elected. The party has less than $100,000 in the bank. The party continues to have factions informally led by Warren and Assemblyman David Gantt on the one side and Assemblyman Joe Morelle on the other.
Frankel says she has a good relationship with Warren, endorsement or not.
"I won't speak for anyone's endorsement. I respect their personal decisions, their professional and political decisions, so I'm not in a position to comment about that," Frankel said. "But I will say we share the same Democratic values about meeting the needs of the people in our community - all of the people in our community. So that for me is the bottom line."
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