WXXI AM News

County Clerk primary recap: Boutte holds slim lead over Romeo

Jun 23, 2020

Adam Bello’s win in last year’s Monroe County executive election left a vacancy in the county clerk’s office -- one that Gov. Andrew Cuomo filled from a familiar Assembly district.

Cuomo tapped 136th District Assemblyperson Jamie Romeo to fill the rest of Bello’s term, just like he named Bello, who was in that same seat, to fill Cheryl Dinolfo’s term when she became county executive in 2016. Now, Romeo faces her first challenge, a Democratic primary, in an effort to keep the seat.

County Clerk Democratic primary candidates Jamie Romeo (left) and Jennifer Boutte (right).

Jennifer Boutte is challenging Romeo, and Boutte is holding a slim 3.4% lead over Romeo after counting the votes made in person today and during early voting.

"There are such a large number of absentee ballots that this will be very difficult,” said Romeo. “So, we really are hoping people don’t necessarily take any big takeaways from tonight because we really do have to make sure all those absentees get counted.”

While there were anecdotal reports of voters not receiving their mail-in ballots, and others running into trouble at the polls, Boutte said Tuesday evening that she was glad to see that people were exercising their right to vote.

"We need change in this community just like we need change across the country right now, but we need to focus on the importance of local elections,” Boutte said. “They do matter. They impact our day-to-day livelihood.”

Romeo said that no matter what happens, the elected county clerk is going to have to grapple with unprecedented challenges.

"Whoever ends up being the county clerk for the four-year cycle to come is really going to have to look at the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how that’s altered the operations for so many of those different functions in the clerk’s office,” Romeo said.

The winner of the primary will face Republican Karla Boyce in November’s general election; Romeo has already locked up the Working Families and Independence Party nominations for November.