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Demond Meeks wins Assembly seat held by David Gantt

Demond Meeks.

Demond Meeks, a labor organizer who challenged the Democratic Party establishment in running for the 137th Assembly District to win the nomination, has declared victory in the general election.

That Meeks would represent the district was a foregone conclusion, as he ran uncontested in the general election. Although dozens of election districts had yet to report, and thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted, Meeks held 99.5% of the vote as of 10 p.m., according to the Monroe County Board of Elections.

"We made this happen by way of family, community, and more family," Meeks said in a victory speech before the Monroe County Democratic Committee at the Strathallan Hotel.

Meeks, a labor union organizer with SEIU1199, ran uncontested after besting the Democratic establishment for the party line earlier this year.

The seat is a significant one because the 137th District, or alternate versions of it, had been occupied by David Gantt since 1983. Gantt, who died July 1 at the age of 78, announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.

The elder statesman had thrown his significant weight -- both political and financial -- behind Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell to replace him. Flagler-Mitchell also got the endorsement of the county Democratic party.

But Meeks managed to not only outpace Flagler-Mitchell in fundraising, but also beat him at the polls in a Democratic primary.

In his speech, Meeks pledged to sow unity among Democrats in the state Legislature.

"As a parent, I’m a firm believer that my children’s success is contingent upon the success of the peers around them," Meeks said. "I’m taking that same mindset to Albany and to our community as a whole."

The district, which covers Rochester and parts of Gates, has been a Democratic stronghold for decades. Enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1, and no Republican emerged this year as a challenger to Meeks.

The results of the race will not be formally certified until after absentee ballots that were mailed in are counted on or after Nov. 16.

David Andreatta is CITY’s editor. He can be reached at