Following DWI arrest, Assemblyman Brian Kolb announces he won’t seek re-election

Local Politics

(News 8 WROC Photo/Rebecca Fath)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Assemblyman Brian Kolb (R-131) announced Thursday that he will not be seeking re-election this year.

“After a great deal of consideration and discussions with my family, I have decided that I will not seek re-election for the 131st Assembly District this fall,” Kolb said in a statement.

Kolb’s full statement:

Kolb was first-elected to the New York State Assembly in 2000, and was elected by his colleagues to the position of Mintority Leader in 2009.

The 131st district represents areas of the Finger Lakes and in Ontario County, including Victor, Canandagiua, Geneva, Seneca Falls and more.

District map:

(Ballotpedia photo)

Kolb was arrested and charged with DWI on New Years Eve. After the arrest, he stepped down from his position as Assembly Minority Leader, but maintained that he would stay in office.

Kolb has since pleaded not guilty, and a special prosecutor has been assigned to his case.

MORE | Assemblyman Kolb stepping down as Minority Leader after drunk driving arrest

According to police, Kolb blew twice the legal limit on a breathalyzer test. He was driving his state-owned SUV when it slid into a ditch at the end of his driveway in Victor.

According the police report, Kolb initially blamed his wife.

Kolb is the latest local representative in the state legislature to announce he won’t seek re-election this year, as the Rochester region’s delegation will look a lot different in Albany.

On Wednesday, Assemblyman Peter Lawrence (R-134) announced he would not seek re-election.

Lawrence became the third local lawmaker in just the past seven days who won’t re-occupy their currently-held seat, joining David Gantt and newly-appointed Monroe County Clerk Jamie Romeo.

State Senators Rich Funke, and Joseph Robach, both Republicans, also will not seek re-election.

One expert says on the Republican side, it could be indicative of a larger strategy.

“It’s almost like starting from scratch in a lot of these races,” said Tim Kneeland, a political science professor at Nazareth College. “So I think that’s one of those reasons why you’re going to see maybe a little bit of a punt.”

MORE | Why are so many lawmakers not running again? Local expert explains

“Now you’ve got Robach gone, and Funke gone, and you’re trying to retain seats in areas where Democrats already outnumber you by tens of thousands of voters,” added Kneeland.

Kneeland sees a larger effort on part of local Republicans to gear up for 2022, to get more funding and develop their candidates.

Close to eight Republican lawmakers have announced they will not return to their seat. Chris Jacobs, a Western New York Republican, would also leave his seat if he won the special election to replace Chris Collins’ seat in the United States Congress.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barlay’s stament regarding Kolb’s announcement:

“It is disappointing to hear the news that Assemblyman Brian Kolb will not seek re-election, but I will always appreciate his service to the people of the Finger Lakes and his unwavering commitment to the Assembly Minority Conference.

It is a true testament to his abilities and leadership that he was overwhelmingly re-elected nine times by the people of his district, and that he was chosen as leader of our Conference for 10 years. No one was more dedicated to our cause and our goals. The residents and businesses of Ontario and Seneca counties know that Brian worked every day to make their lives better and more prosperous.

During his 20 years in Albany, Brian has been a trusted confidant and true friend to many of us. He will be greatly missed. On behalf of the entire Minority Conference, I’d like to thank him for his leadership and resolve. I wish him and his wife, Lauren, continued happiness as they begin a new journey.”

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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