Rochester Mayor Plays Chicken with Assembly Speaker Heastie

Rochester, NY April 7, 2016- The battle lines are being drawn in Rochester, NY as Mayor Lovely Warren’s endless war against the Democratic party now sets its sights on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie’s members.

Let’s look at the history here.

While a City Councilwoman, Mayor Lovely Warren was involved in three attempted Party takeovers. These attempts came in the form of primarying party delegates in hopes of controlling the Party’s nominations. She took part in two attempts, one the year before she became Mayor and one two years ago while she was Mayor. In 2014 she supported over 500 delegate primaries across the City of Rochester and even researched setting her sights on towns such as Fairport and Perinton.

Last year, she personally supported and campaigned with and for candidates against the Democratic Party across the City of Rochester. In each case however, the Mayor was unsuccessful. Her largest loss coming in the race where she put up her staffer Mitch Rowe to run against retired Police Chief James Sheppard. According to Board of Elections reports, James Sheppard took 76% of the vote to Rowe’s 22%.

The year Warren entered the Mayor’s Office, rumors immediately began to circulate that she was already looking to higher office. Within the first 2 months she managed to take close to 10 trips to Washington, D.C., one where she ended up in the offices of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to discuss running against Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. These rumors have not gone away as the Mayor has been tied to recent challenges by independent candidate Brandon Kirshner for Congress and to quietly helping Republican Mark Assini in his challenge to unseat Slaughter.

Now, it seems that Warren has her sights set on controlling seats in the NYS Assembly. This would add to her influence outside of her mentor Assemblyman David Gantt’s seat.

In February, North Coast News broke the story that the Mayor and a leadership team made up of Arnie Rothschild and Scott Gaddy were propping up local TV news journalist Rachel Barnhart to run against incumbent Assemblyman Harry Bronson. This raised many questions and incited a vigorous response from Team Barnhart. Now over one month later, a poll has been released which shows the race is more than just speculation, but now an almost certainty.

Sources within City Hall, who requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of this story, have revealed that the Mayor’s recent endorsement of Assemblyman Harry Bronson is a way to divert the narrative away from her and not threaten the City’s relationship with the Speaker of the Assembly.

“There is too much money at stake for the Mayor to remain attached to this race, so she was forced to endorse. Make no mistake about it though, she is supporting Barnhart”   ~City Hall Staffer

It is hard to imagine that Mayor Warren would be so far removed from a project her brother Scott Gaddy is leading. Their close ties that date back to their work on Assemblyman David Gantt’s staff are well documented and the two are tied together through $40,000 of shadow money pumped into her campaign for Mayor.

What effect would an endorsement from Mayor Warren have in that district given her high number of unfavorables and below 50% approval rating in the district?

The larger question is what effect does this have on the City of Rochester with the Mayor going toe to toe with one of the most powerful Democrats in New York State, Speaker Heastie. It is clear that he is taking an interest in the race as he will be here for a fundraiser for Assemblyman Bronson today.

Will Rochester pay for the Mayor’s ambitious pursuit for influence and power?

~Juan Garcia is a freelance blogger who lives in Rochester. You can contact him at juangarciaroc@gmail.com