Democrats poised for majority in Monroe County Legislature after absentee count

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Nearly two weeks after Election Day, absentee ballots made a big difference in a number of critical Monroe County Legislature races.

The magic number in the Monroe County Legislature for a majority is 15 because there are 29 seats. Republicans went into Election Day with the 15-seat majority, but three undecided races determined by absentee ballots all went to local Democrats.

Those three races are as follows:

  • LD13 (Henrietta): Matt Borkowski (R) vs. Michael Yudelson (D) — Yudelson trailed Borkowski by 158 votes on election day. He secured 352 absentee votes to Borkowski’s 94.
  • LD 16 (Irondequoit): Dave Long (D) vs. Joe Carbone (R) — Long led Carbone by 47 votes on election night. He gained another 216 absentee votes, while Carbone gained 90.
  • LD 26 (Gates, Greece, Rochester): Orlando Rivera (R) vs. Yversha Roman (D) — Rivera had a 78-vote lead on election night. Roman gained 169 absentee votes, while Rivera trailed with 40.

These results in these races are not official. Hand counting is set to take place later this week.

The race for Irondequoit Town Supervisor also came down to absentee ballots. In the unofficial tally on election night, Republican Rory Fitzpatrick pulled ahead of Democrat Joseph Morelle Jr. among in-person voters in a 6,205 — 5,825 vote.

Fitzpatrick picked up another 149 absentee votes for a 6,354 total. Morelle Jr. gained 455, totaling 6,280.

Statement from Monroe County Democratic Committee

“While there are still votes to be counted—and we believe that every vote should be counted—unofficial tallies of the affidavit and absentee ballots from the November 2 election put Democratic legislative candidates within the margin of victory to take a 15-14 majority in the Monroe County Legislature. I want to congratulate Michael Yudelson in LD13, Dave Long in LD16, and Minority Leader Yversha Roman in LD26—whose races were decided by today’s counts—and all our legislative candidates for their victories in some very hard-fought races.

“This is a historic—albeit still unofficial—day in Monroe County: it’s the first time Democrats have held a majority in the Monroe County Legislature in 30 years. In the eye of a Republican hurricane across our state and country, Monroe County Democrats held their ground and gained more.

“But this is about more than Democrats having control: this is about voters choosing Legislators who are willing and ready to work with County Executive Adam Bello to tackle the very pressing issues our community faces: helping families and businesses recover from the pandemic; making much-needed investments in infrastructure; addressing challenges in public safety and mental health; and keeping our schools safe and open.

“There are other races we had our eye on that also deserve mention. Congratulations to Chuck Steinman who will become the first-ever Democratic Town Justice in the Town of Perinton; Stephanie Townsend who retained her seat on the Pittsford Town Council; incumbent Rush Town Supervisor Gerry Kusse and incoming Town Councilmembers Jeanne Morelli and Daniel Chase for their sweep of Rush town government; and Judge Doug Randall who retained his seat as Monroe County’s most experienced County Court Judge, as well as Caroline Edwards-Morrison being elected to the bench.

“Again, these results are unofficial and do not include the hand counts that will take place this week. However, I do not anticipate they will change the course of any of these races based on the number of ballots remaining.”

Monroe County Democratic Committee Chairman Zach King

Statement from New York Working Families Party

“We’re thrilled that the Working Families Party ballot line is set to deliver the first Democratic majority in the Monroe County Legislature in decades. It’s imperative now that our new majority makes good on its promise to working people by investing in equitable community resources, climate resiliency, emergency mental health response, and truly affordable housing. Our membership looks forward to working with our Working Families Democrats to achieve these priorities.”

Stevie Vargas, the Rochester Chapter Chair for the Working Families Party

On Tuesday, leaders and candidates from both parties reacted to the Monday evening projections.

“I’m saddened by the fact that we were not able to win those seats where we were in the plus column on election night,” said Bernie Iacovangelo, the Monroe County GOP chair.

“[Candidates] did a phenomenal job and they brought real character, strength and hard work to the table. I couldn’t be prouder,” added Iacovangelo.

“From what we saw from the absentees on election night, we had a lot of hope that we would see the result that we got yesterday, at least the unofficial results,” said Zach King, the Monroe County Democratic chair.

King told News 8 he hopes the democratic majority brings more unity and less fighting to the legislative chambers.

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

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