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Sen. Joe Robach says he won't run for the Congressional seat held by Louise Slaughter

Mar 24, 2018

Scratch one potential candidate off the list for the 25th Congressional District. Republican State Senator Joe Robach released a statement on Saturday morning saying that will not run for the seat left vacant with the recent death of longtime Democratic Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.

Here is Robach’s statement:

"I have been humbled by the amount of support that I have received from the community encouraging me to run for Congress. Serving at the highest level of government would be an honor, a privilege and personal dream fulfilled. After much consideration, and as my father always said, serving the public is not about what excites you or is best for you; it is about what is best for the people that you serve. At this time, I know that the greatest impact that I can have is to continue to serve in the state Senate. We are at a turning point in New York, and need to continue to capitalize on the progress that we have made by living within the tax cap, ensuring that Rochester receives its fair share of funding for education, healthcare and capital projects, and making New York more affordable for people and families of all ages and economic backgrounds."

Robach had earlier told the D&C that he has to balance his own prospects with the razor-thin majority Republicans have in the NYS Senate. They have a one-vote majority with the help of a Democrat who sits with them.

All Congressional districts and state legislative seats in New York are on the ballot this fall.

Other political officials said to be weighing a potential run for the 25th district seat include Irondequoit Assemblyman and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Irondequoit) who is expected to announce a decision soon.

Other names that have been mentioned include Assemblyman Harry Bronson, a Rochester Democrat, and fellow Democrat, Mayor Lovely Warren. They have not yet publicly talked about their interest.

Another Democrat, Andrew Gilchrist recently announced he is attempting to get on the ballot.

Previously, local neurosurgeon Dr. James Maxwell said he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for that seat.

On her social media pages on Saturday, former local TV reporter Rachel Barnhart said she has begun collecting signatures for petitions for the Congressional seat, saying that her camp “understood there would be no decision to make — and possibly limited or no choices for Democratic voters — if we didn’t start immediately.”

But she stopped short of saying right now that she will run. She says the next step is doing an analysis that will include data and issues and the final step is making a decision. April 12 is the last day petitions are due, and Barnhart says, “We believe we are honoring Louise Slaughter and her advocacy for ballot access, democracy and women by engaging in this process.” 

Barnhart has run previously for NYS Assembly and Rochester Mayor.

It is not yet clear when there will be a special election to fill the remainder of Louise Slaughter’s term, which runs until the end of this year.