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Irondequoit contest could determine which party controls the Monroe County Legislature

Photo illustration by Jacob Walsh

As Republicans and Democrats battle for control of a closely divided Monroe County Legislature, the focus is turning to Irondequoit.

One race there — a rematch between Democratic incumbent Dave Long and Republican Dr. Joe Carbone in the 16th District — could be the one that decides which party runs the chamber come January.

The two candidates previously squared off in 2021, when Long squeaked out a win with just under 50% of the vote to Carbone’s 48%. At the time, Democrats had a substantial enrollment advantage in the district. Since then, that district has been redrawn to give Democrats an even deeper edge in enrollment.

But Carbone, who not only served in the Legislature from 2013 until his ouster but was also its president for five years, is handily winning the money race. He has raised more than $100,000 and has spent much of that. Long, by comparison, has raised more than $25,000.

Long is banking that his incumbent status and extensive outreach will keep him in the seat. He claims to have knocked on the doors of more than 3,000 residences during the campaign.

“I’m excited about this next term,” Long said. “I really am taking nothing for granted. I'm working harder than before. I want to continue service because I feel like we've done great things, and I feel like this next term will bring the same and better.”

Carbone did not respond to interview requests.

Democrats hold 15 of the Legislature’s 29 seats, but they don’t control the chamber. President Sabrina LaMar is a Democrat, but she caucuses with the GOP minority as part of a power-sharing deal. LaMar won’t be returning to the chamber in January after losing her primary earlier this year, but her seat is expected to remain in Democratic hands.

Some members of the Democratic party have said they are trying to win a true Legislature majority to work alongside County Executive Adam Bello, a fellow Democrat who is running for reelection. He faces a challenge from Republican Mark Assini, a former Gates town supervisor.

Republicans, meanwhile, are trying to keep their long-running grip on the Legislature — they’ve controlled the body since 1993 — and to give Assini a friendly Legislature majority, should he prevail. They’re focusing their campaign messages on public safety, taxes, and the cost of living, while emphasizing their commitment to neighborhood and community issues.

“That's what Republican legislators stand for,” said Reilly O’Brien, a spokesperson for the Republicans’ Legislature campaign committee. “And I think that's what our everyday voters care about. We have a commonsense vision. And I think most voters will support that vision come Election Day.”

Democrats have likewise stressed public safety, cost-of-living issues, economic and workforce development, and the efforts the county has made to address the opioid crisis. They’re also making much of Bello’s promise to cut the tax rate and levy in his upcoming 2024 budget proposal. When he announced that plan, he was flanked by Democratic and Republican legislators.


While the 16th District race will be key to control of the Legislature, two other races have potential to tip the chamber’s balance.

In the 13th District in Henrietta and Pittsford, Democratic incumbent Michael Yudelson faces a challenge from Republican Ethan Greene, and the 18th District in Perinton has Republican incumbent Sean Delehanty facing a challenge from Democrat Lystra McCoy.

Democrats have a 2,500-voter enrollment advantage in the 13th District, which should work in Yudelson’s favor. But he defeated his Republican opponent by only 71 votes in 2021.

Delehanty last ran for Legislature in 2021, pulling in 51% of the vote. This year, he’s running in a redrawn district that has more Democrats and fewer Republicans.

While the enrollment numbers favor Democrats in all three districts, the races there remain toss-ups. Only local races are on the ballot, and that typically means lower turnout than during presidential elections, congressional midterms, and high-profile state contests. Historically, that has benefited Republicans, who generally turn out at higher numbers than Democrats.

Dave Long and Dr. Joe Carbone
Photos provided
Dave Long, left; Joe Carbone, right

16th District – part of Irondequoit
Dave Long (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families
Joe Carbone | Republican, Conservative

During his first term, Long has been a reliable Bello ally. As he has campaigned for reelection, he has talked to voters about how he supported a $7.3 million proposal from the county executive and Sheriff Todd Baxter to expand the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and add deputies to the road patrol. He also told them about his support for a new diversion program for juvenile offenders that officials hope will help interrupt the spate of car thefts countywide.

Long said that if reelected, he wants to continue supporting initiatives that started during his first term, including the county Climate Action Plan and Active Transportation Plan, as well as the $144 million in federal pandemic relief funds the county steered to numerous local organizations.

“That’s a big thing that I'm interested in is how, in this next term, are we going to evaluate, course, correct, help,” said Long, who works as a program manager in the University of Rochester’s Dermatology Department. “I mean, these are great ideas with people who are trying to do good things, right? Do they need help? … So seeing that through is important to me.”

Carbone, a podiatrist, previously served in the Legislature from 2013 through 2021. He served as the chamber’s president beginning in 2016, and ending when Long unseated him.

As a legislator and later as president, Carbone was a staunch ally of former Republican county executives Maggie Brooks and Cheryl Dinolfo, for whom taxes were a priority. He helped them usher their agendas and budgets — all of which held the property tax rate flat or cut it — through the Legislature.

Carbone was president when the Climate Action Plan was launched, and he touted his support for it in a 2021 letter to Working Families Party voters. The party backed him in the past but not in 2021.

He also played a key role in developing the controversial and failed CABLE Act of 2019, which would have curtailed the authority of Bello as he assumed the county executive’s office. Carbone said at the time that the legislation wasn’t meant as a power grab, but to foster transparency.

Michael Yudelson and Ethan Greene
Photos provided
Michael Yudelson, left; Ethan Greene, right

13th District — part of Henrietta, part of Pittsford
Michael Yudelson (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families
Ethan Greene | Republican, Conservative

Michael Yudelson has served in the Legislature since 2019. Before that, he was Henrietta town supervisor and a member of the town’s board. He’s held positions as director of the Henrietta Recreation Department, director of operations at the Center for Youth, and executive director of the youth services organization Threshold Inc. He is currently the executive director of Temple B’rith Kodesh.

Yudelson has emphasized his government and nonprofit experience, as well as his involvement with several community organizations. But he’s also playing up his support for Bello’s agenda, noting that he backed the expansion of the Sheriff’s Office, among other things. He’s also served as co-chair of the advisory committee that has been steering development of the county’s Climate Action Plan.

Ethan Greene is a Marine Corps veteran and farmer who lives near his family’s farm on Calkins Road in Pittsford. Throughout his campaign, he’s emphasized public safety, saying that he’ll fight against state bail reform laws he believes are dangerous and work to provide law enforcement with resources and funding.

He’s also said he’ll only support county budgets that reduce the tax rate and levy, and that he wants to eliminate the county gas tax and sales tax on “everyday items.” Greene has promised to work in support of local parks, trails, and farms.

Sean Delehanty and Lystra McCoy
Photos provided
Sean Delehanty, left; Lystra McCoy, right

18th District — part of Perinton
Sean Delehanty (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative
Lystra McCoy | Democratic

Sean Delehanty has served in the Legislature since 2015. If reelected, he would serve one two-year term. Legislators are limited to terms of 10 consecutive years.

Throughout his campaigns, Delehanty has played up his ties to the Perinton-Fairport community and emphasized his extensive record of government experience and involvement with local civic and nonprofit groups. For instance, his mailings have included the motto of Fairport Central School District athletics: “Once A Raider, Always A Raider.”

He was chief of staff for former Assemblymember Mark Johns, who is now a county legislator; was an outreach manager at the county’s Youth Bureau and Office of the Aging; and was a Fairport village trustee from 2011 to 2014. He serves on the advisory committee that’s leading development of the county’s Climate Action Plan.

Lystra McCoy has stressed her own connections to the Perinton-Fairport community. She was born and raised in Perinton, according to her bio. After college, she lived in Kentucky and Houston, Texas, before moving back to Perinton in 2021. She got involved with the Fairport Diversity Council and Habitat for Humanity’s Build Team, among other groups.

On the campaign trail, public safety has been one of her priorities. She wants the county to invest in diversion programs, intensive supervision, and services for juvenile offenders. She also supports investment in workforce development programs and wants to see the county implement the recommendations of its Climate Action Plan.

Other Legislature races:

1st District – Parma and Hilton, part of Greece
Blake Keller | Republican, Conservative

2nd District – Hamlin, Clarkson, Brockport, part of Sweden
Jackie Smith | Republican, Conservative

3rd District – most of Chili
Tracy DiFlorio (incumbent) | Republican, Putting People First
Marvin Stepherson | Democratic

4th District – part of Gates, part of Greece
Virginia McIntyre | Republican
Rita Pettinaro | Conservative, Monroe County

5th District – Mendon, Rush, parts of Henrietta, Pittsford, and Perinton
Richard Milne (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative
Terry Daniele | Democratic

6th District – part of Greece
Sean McCabe (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative

7th District – part of Greece
Kirk Morris (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative

8th District – part of Webster
Mark Johns (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative
Michael DiTullio | Democratic, Working Families

9th District – most of Penfield
Paul Dondorfer (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative
Mel Callan | Democratic

10th District – village of Pittsford, part of Pittsford town, part of Brighton
Howard Maffucci (incumbent) | Democratic
Nancy Lewis | Republican

11th District – East Rochester, Fairport, part of Perinton
John Baynes | Democratic

12th District – Riga, Churchville, Wheatland, Scottsville, part of Henrietta
Steve Brew | Republican, Conservative

14th District - parts of Brighton and Penfield
Susan Hughes-Smith (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families
Pat Reilly | Republican, Conservative

15th District – parts of Webster and Penfield
Francis Ciardi | Republican, Conservative

17th District – Browncroft, North Winton Village, part of Irondequoit
Rachel Barnhart (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

19th District – part of Greece
Tom Sinclair | Republican, Conservative

20th District – Ogden, part of Sweden, part of Chili, part of Greece
Robert Colby (incumbent) | Republican, Conservative
Jaime Erskine-Pettit | Democratic

21st District – Beechwood, part of northeast Rochester
Santos Cruz | Democratic
Oscar Brewer Jr. | Working Families

22nd District – Marketview Heights, Upper Falls / CONEA, part of 14621
Mercedes Simmons (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

23rd District – Cobbs Hill, Culver-University, ABC Streets, Upper Monroe, Park Avenue, Swillburg, Lock 66, Pearl Meigs, Monroe, Wadsworth Square, Neighborhood of the Arts
Linda Hasman (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

24th District – part of Brighton, Highland Park Neighborhood, South Wedge, University of Rochester, Genesee Valley Park, Mt. Hope Cemetery
Albert Blankley (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

25th District – Plymouth-Exchange, Genesee-Jefferson, Corn Hill, Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood, High Falls, Brown Square, part of Center City
Carolyn Hoffman (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

26th District – Maplewood, Charlotte, part of Greece, part of Irondequoit
Yversha Roman (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

27th District – part of 19th Ward, part of Barker Street Neighborhood, part of Gates
Rose Bonnick | Democratic, Working Families
David Ferris | Republican, Conservative

28th District – Lincoln Park, Lyell-Otis, JOSANA, Edgerton
Ricky Frazier (incumbent) | Democratic, Working Families

29th District – 14621, part of Maplewood
William Burgess | Democratic, Working Families

Jeremy Moule is a deputy editor with WXXI News. He also covers Monroe County.