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Demond Meeks to replace David Gantt in the 137th Assembly District

Jul 8, 2020

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Demond Meeks, a labor union organizer with SEIU1199 who ran against the establishment for the Democratic line in the 137th Assembly District, has won the party’s nomination, according to unofficial primary election results released Wednesday. 

Meeks won the June 23 primary with 44.2% of the vote, besting the party’s chosen candidate, Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, by almost 11 points. Flagler-Mitchell captured 33.5% of the vote.

Two other candidates, Ann Lewis and Silvano Orsi, rounded out the race, garnering 19% and 3% of the vote, respectively.

Meeks led the pack on Primary Day with 48% of the vote, but his lead was not enough to declare him the winner due to the thousands of outstanding absentee ballots that had yet to be counted. Of the 10,234 ballots cast, 3,741 of them — or 36.5% — were absentees.

With no Republican candidate on the horizon in the 137 Assembly District, which covers Rochester and parts of Gates and where enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly 2 to 1, Meeks will likely cruise to victory in November.

“I’m definitely excited,” Meeks said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I won’t say I was surprised because the type of race that we ran and the level of energy that we had, and the diversity that we had, it was so reflective of this community and I think that was what helped us truly get over the hump.”

The 137th District seat, or alternate versions of it, has 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 weight — political and financial — behind Flagler-Mitchell, the candidate of choice of the county Democratic Party.

Despite lacking the support of the party establishment, Meeks managed to outraise Flagler-Mitchell in the race, pulling in $40,400 to Flagler’s $28,700.

David Andreatta is CITY’s editor. He can be reached at dandreatta@rochester-citynews.com.