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Tom Richards Tries To Clarify His Position On The Campaign

Randy Gorbman

Rochester Mayor Tom Richards has tried to clarify where he stands in connection with an effort to get people to vote for him in November.

During a city hall news conference Wednesday, Richards reiterated that he is not actively campaigning for re-election, just as he said back in September when he lost the Democratic primary to Lovely Warren.

Although Richards is not campaigning, he is still on the November ballot on the Independence and Working Families Party lines, and the chairman of the Independence Party has tried to get an effort going to have city residents cast ballots for Richards next month.

Richards was asked about the fact that some staffers in City Hall and others in the community are supporting the effort to get people to vote for him.

"I don't think I'm obligated to go around the city and knock on doors and say, 'are you doing anything in this campaign, if you are, I want you to cut it out.'  I'm being as clear as I can be and I've told people where I am and what I'm going to do, and I assume they'll respect that. If they choose not to, if they choose to do something else, because they'd rather do something else, then I guess that's what they'll do "

But Richards would not issue a blanket statement saying that if elected, which he considers to be highly unlikely, that he would refuse to serve as mayor.

He says that in such a scenario, the second highest vote getter would not become mayor, and it's really too difficult to resolve that issue now. 

Richards says he previously indicated his support for Warren, and he continues to support her, even though he is not doing any campaigning for anyone. Warren faces Green Party candidate Alex White in November.

Warren noted that Richards “…said that he would rather be a grandfather than a mayor and I think that speaks to where his intentions and what he wants to do at this point in time and I'm thankful to him for supporting me. "

Alex White says all of the speculation about Richards “... is a distraction because we have an election and we have important matters to talk about. What he didn't say was, ‘I’m in the race.’ ”

And Steve Corryn, Chairman of the Monroe County Independence Party says the comments Wednesday by Richards really aren't any different from what he's been saying all along.

"We endorsed the mayor early on, and our position hasn't changed. We’ve become more active as people have reached out to us and asked us to become more active. "

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.