Local political analyst: Rochester mayoral debate was a ‘stalemate’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A stalemate is what one local political analyst is calling Tuesday night’s mayoral debate between Mayor Lovely Warren and city council member Malik Evans.

With the Primary just a few weeks away, political analyst Tim Kneeland said this is going to be a competitive race.

“Malik was very good at explaining why he was running. His policy differences aren’t that great from Mayor Warren, but he does say he wants to bridge the community and bring back trust which the mayor has lost with both city council and city residents as well. The mayor did a fine job using the platform to talk about all the accomplishments she’s had, to refer to the troubles she’s in, to make it clear she’s innocent and to really move the debate towards policy,” said Kneeland.

Tuesday night, Evans said he wants to be the candidate to bridge the divide in the community. Warren said she’s like many Rochesterians, she may not have a perfect life, but she believes the city needs a mayor who can relate to that.

Kneeland said according to News 8’s exclusive Emerson College poll, the recent arrest of Warren’s husband may actually be helping her in the polls.

“People were watching that very carefully and responded with the idea that it made them more likely to sympathize with the mayor, so I do think that’s playing in. And she said, ‘look, I don’t come from a perfect life,’ she acknowledges that.”

On the topic voters from the poll say they care most about, jobs, Kneeland said neither candidate was specific in their answer.

“I’m not sure either candidate was able to grapple with the deep economic stresses that are going on in the city and I think that may be an issue that voters want to hear more from both candidates on, what is your action plan going forward for the city of Rochester.”

The committees that make up the Rochester Teachers Association have decided their candidate is Evans, an alumnus of the city school district and former school board member.

RTA vice president John Pavone said they’ve donated $9,000 to Evans’ campaign. He said this money does not come from RTA dues, but from donations handled by the New York State United Teachers Vote Committee on Political Education.

“He gets along with everybody and one thing when you work with Malik he always wants to come up with a solution and he’s willing to compromise and meet you halfway and that’s a real good quality,” Pavone said.

He said they feel when it comes to education, Evans is a better fit. Pavone said the current Warren administration tried on numerous occasions to get Albany to lower the Maintenance of Effort money, which is required to be given to the RCSD by law. Pavone said RTA doesn’t believe Evans would try to do that.

Kneeland said where people put their money can be telling.

“Campaign finance shows a commitment and it shows people are confident in the leadership of this or that candidate and they’re putting their resources there.”

The Primary is set to take place June 22.

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