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Mary Lupien defeats Paul Conrow to retain East District City Council seat for a second term

Mary Lupien
Provided photo/CITY
Rochester City Council Vice President Mary Lupien

Rochester City Council Vice President Mary Lupien has fended off a challenge in the Democratic primary from high school teacher Paul Conrow — all but assuring that she will retain the seat for a second term.

With all districts reporting, Lupien garnered 57.7% of the vote, according to unofficial results released by the Monroe County Board of Elections around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The race was one of four on the Council, but was perhaps the most closely watched, in part because of Lupien's prominence and because of the money raised by her opponent.

Conrow, a science teacher at East High School, amassed one of the largest campaign war chests for a City Council seat in recent history.

The latest campaign financial disclosures on file with the state show he raised $35,259 — nearly $3 for every $2 raised by Lupien. Local developers and the Rochester Police Locust Club were among his largest single contributors.

Conrow ran on a campaign of promoting jobs for young people, even going so far to buy a "JOBSGUY" vanity license plate. He billed himself as an "extreme moderate," with a belief that he could help mend relationships between Councilmembers.

Paul Conrow, smiling, stands before trees and looks at the camera
Jacob Walsh
CITY Magazine
Paul Conrow, seeking a seat on Rochester City Council, outside of the Connections studio at WXXI.

Lupien spearheaded a new progressive wave on Council with her election in 2019. Her success was followed by those of other progressives, Stanley Martin and Kim Smith, in 2021.

Lupien ran for re-election as part of the People's Slate, a political coalition that previously propped up Martin and Smith, and endorsed Chiara Smith and Barbara Rivera in this year's Council bids.

Her tenure in office has been marked by pushes to pull funds from the Rochester Police Department, invest in mental health services, and strengthen tenant protections. Her Council colleagues elected her vice president last year.

Voter turnout was low by any measure, with just 13.3% of enrolled Democrats in the city casting a ballot, according to the county Board of Elections.

With no challenger in the general election, Lupien will almost certainly win and take office on Jan. 1.

Gino Fanelli is an investigative reporter who also covers City Hall. He joined the staff in 2019 by way of the Rochester Business Journal, and formerly served as a watchdog reporter for Gannett in Maryland and a stringer for the Associated Press.
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