ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — An upcoming primary for a local New York State Assembly seat appears as if it will be closely contested; if the Monroe County Democratic Committee’s votes are an indication of things to come.
A spokesperson for the MCDC says that the designation for the seat is evenly split between incumbent Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D-138), and the challenger, and current Chief of Staff for Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Alex Yudelson.
According to one MCDC official, the votes are split 49-49 — although the Bronson campaign disputes those results and says the Assemblyman received more than 50% of the votes.
MCDC will meet Saturday for their nominating convention where the party will officially make their endorsements of candidates. It’s important to note that the party’s endorsement doesn’t mean there won’t be a primary, especially so when races are closely contested at the committee designation level.
Bronson, whose held the seat since being elected in 2010, announced his run for re-election in November. Bronson, who was the first openly gay member of the New York State Legislature from upstate New York, also owns Equal Grounds Coffehouse in Rochester’s South Wedge neighborhood.
Yudelson, current Chief of Staff for Mayor Lovely Warren and former aide for President Barack Obama, announced his run for the assembly in December. Regarding the designation vote, Yudelson released this statement to News 8:
“I am incredibly grateful to the committee members who supported me and those who participated in this process. The fact that this party designation was a virtual tie with a 10-year incumbent indicates that there’s a real appetite for change in Albany, and I look forward to sharing my plans to fight for Rochester, Henrietta, and Chili’s fair share with the voters and families of this great community.”
Bronson’s camp took issue with the designation process. They say the voting was the result of “a thumb on the scale” or a “ballot box being stuffed.” A spokesperson for the assemblyman’s campaign said this:
“From the misinformation shared by the party regarding the designation process, it seems as if the ballot box has been stuffed. This is the only time I can recall counting ballots when votes were never cast. I appreciate the Democratic Party Committee members participating in the process and it is a shame to see their voice drowned out by a thumb on the scale.”
The 138th district encompasses parts of the city of Rochester as well as the towns and villages of Chili and Henrietta.
Ultimately, the Democratic candidate for this assembly seat will be decided when voters head to the polls on New York state’s Primary Day — June 23.
We will be speaking with the attorney with the MCDC tonight and will continue to update this developing story.