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Tom RichardsYesterday, I wrote why Tom Richards wasn’t the guy for the Democratic Party.

But that doesn’t mean he’s not the guy to be mayor.

Richards won a three-way race in 2011 and he might be able to do so again. He will appear on the ballot in November on the Working Families and Independence party lines.


– He won a citywide election in 2011. To not get 50 percent of the vote in a Democratic city against third party candidates showed tremendous weakness that was exposed in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. But he still won a plurality in that election.

(That’s why Joe Morelle and Bob Duffy were so desperate for a special election in 2011. They knew Richards faced a fight in a primary scenario and would have an easier time in a special election. They were right.)

– East-side voters stayed home on Tuesday. The voters who pushed Richards over the top in 2011 and Bob Duffy over in 2005 stayed home. Perhaps they took the race for granted. Perhaps they were not energized by Richards’ campaign. There’s time to find out. If these likely supporters come out for the general election, Richards could win.

– Third party lines can get votes. Bill Johnson ran on his own line in 2011 and got 42 percent of the vote compared to Richards’ 49 percent. Nothing to sneeze at.

– More choice is always a good thing. Warren got fewer than 9,000 votes on Tuesday in a city where there are more than 100,000 registered voters. Turnout is always better in a general election.


– How will Richards fund his campaign? Who will be his volunteers? Running such a race would require infrastructure. Without Democratic Party backing – Richards could have a very hard time. (Although, the Dems ran a bad campaign for him during the primary. It’s also not clear what level of party support Warren would get.)

– Richards won’t have the Democratic line. Democrats outnumber everyone else 3-2 in the city. If Richards wins, he’d be the first non-Democrat elected in the city to any office since the 1980s. (Maybe the 1970s?)

Alex White is on the ballot in November, as he was in 2011. He took 9 percent of the vote in 2011. Was he spoiler? Did he take from Richards and Johnson equally? What would his impact be on a Richards-Warren-White race?

– Does Richards have the stomach for this? He is an executive-type, not a politician. He doesn’t relish the fight. He doesn’t care for campaigning. If he stays in, he’s got to be in it to win it. It would be very hard work.

<Lonsberry says Richards should stay in the race.>

11 Responses to Should He Still Run?

  1. September 12, 2013 at 8:53 am RaChaCha responds:

    If Richards stays in the race, he could do worse than to point out that, yes, 9,000 Democrats asked for Lovely Warren to be their candidate for Mayor — and that now it’s time to give the entire city a choice.

    He should also hold the WFP’s feet to the fire, and make them show up to campaign for him just as hard as they did for Johnson in ’11.

  2. Or he could do better. I would vote for him but I can’t vote in primaries

  3. I’d vote and campaign for him. I signed up on his website yesterday to hope to encourage him to stay in it.

    I voted in the primary at about 5PM and my ballot was the eleventh one scanned in on my machine (my precinct had two machines).

  4. Two political parties have selected Tom Richards as their candidate. They should not be denied the right to run the candidate of their choice because of the outcome of the Democratic primary. That would dishonor our electoral process.

    I would personally like to see Mayor Richards run again because I believe that he brings wisdom, experience and common sense to the role. His job with Rochester is not yet done. (But he clearly needs different people running his campaign. Those running the primary missed the mark in so many ways.)

  5. Warren won for 2 reasons: her volunteers got out her vote, and the Democratic Party didn’t.
    What I still fail to understand is why Warren ran in the first place. She had it made as City Council President, and could have worked with Richards to achieve both their agendas. The citizens of Rochester would be in a win/win.And she’s be primed for 4 years from now.
    But she just couldn’t wait, and her ego may well cost the city, whose inner workings she is pitifully unaware of.

  6. The momentum is now with Warren.

  7. September 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm RaChaCha responds:

    I left a more detailed comment on why I think Richards should keep on keeping on, over at the City Newspaper editor’s blog post on this topic — including my personal experiences with how the legendary Gantt turnout machine works:

  8. Richards has the support of two relatively minor political parties: the Independence Party, which is badly organized and despises politics in general (interesting claim I know, but it seems many “I”s seem to think they’re registered as “Independents” when NY doesn’t give that option: they actually want to register as “Unaffiliated”) and the Working Families line or what we used to call at MCDC (pardon the expression) the “What the **** Party”. I can assure you that without the support of a major political line (the Republicans anyone?) Richards can not maintain his hold as mayor. He is a businessman, not a politician and is principally a tool (like Duffy before him) of the Morelle wing of the Democratic Party (or the white suburban wing in plain English). Warren is the tool of the Gantt wing of the Democratic Party (otherwise known as the “black” or African-American urban wing). Johnson was the urban wing, Duffy and Richards the suburban. Power has now rightfully shifted again to the urban wing (though it should be noted Johnson and Gantt never had a warm and fuzzy friendship). Expect Richards to retire somewhere warm, where ex-CEOs go to be put out to pasture.

  9. This loss probably should not have come as a total shock. Tom Richards is the Mayor of Rochester, but he functions and behaves more like the CEO of Rochester. And people generally do not get warm and fuzzy about CEO types.

    You sense that he is uncomfortable about the retail aspect of politics, and this includes “get out the vote” efforts. Tom just doesn’t look like a “roll up the sleeves and get down and dirty” kind of guy. He’s more of the country club set and a Daddy Warbucks protégé. I doubt he has the stomach to change his persona completely at this point chasing a job he really doesn’t need.

    Whether or not he decides to run is his decision to make, but you do get a sense a couple of days after the big event that people are just waking up to the potential power lock David Gantt may have in the wake of this election. They are also waking up the fact that if you are white, you may no longer have a real shot at getting elected to anything in the city of Rochester. Just look at the school board race. City Dems voted for Cynthia Elliott over many other candidates that were not only more qualified, but have about 5x the maturity level of Elliott. Skin color and ethnicity now trump everything in city elections.

    Maybe we’ll be blessed, and between now and the election a reporter will actually ask Lovely Warren about how she intends to run the RCSD assuming Gantt’s proposal for mayoral control gets passed at the state level. It amazes me that you, Rachel, noted the resurrection of this legislation months ago, and not a single news outlet in town did any probing about why he was interested in this given “Mayor Tom’s” lack of interest in mayoral control. The answer should now be obvious, in retrospect. It was all done for the benefit of his puppet, Lovely Warren.

  10. September 13, 2013 at 12:23 am Jethro Maddox responds:

    Richards can turn this situation around if he makes an issue out of the outbreak of line dancing that took place at Lovely Warren’s victory party. This ungodly defilement of our sacred American country music will alarm the silent majority in Rochester, and send them flocking to the polls.

  11. September 24, 2013 at 5:26 pm George Barr responds:

    Richards got beat fair and square. His campaign did everything they could do to win and they loss big time.. He will only get his feelings hurt again in the Gen Election if he decided to run.

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