Assembly member Harry Bronson held on to the Democratic line in defending his seat representing the 138th District, according to unofficial primary election results released Wednesday.
Bronson garnered 7,074 of the 12,726 votes cast, or roughly 57%.
His opponent, Alex Yudelson, an upstart candidate who had the backing of the Monroe County Democratic Committee and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, whom he serves as her chief of staff, captured nearly 43% of the vote.
The Monroe County Board of Elections is expected to certify the results in the coming days.
Their battle for the party nomination was among the most spirited of the primary season, which ended with the election on June 23.
Bronson held a substantial lead at the close of the polls, but could not immediately be declared the winner because of a deluge of uncounted absentee ballots.
Across the state, the electorate had been encouraged to vote by absentee ballot to avoid crowding polling stations during the pandemic. Absentee ballots accounted for 56% of the vote in the Bronson-Yudelson race.
The prominence of the candidates and the controversial backstory to their match-up made their race among the most closely watched.
Despite being a five-term legislator and loyal to Democratic causes, Bronson lost his party’s endorsement to Yudelson in an internal election of party committees that prompted accusations of nepotism and rule-bending.
Yudelson won that election with the support of two committees — one led by his father, the Democratic leader of Henrietta, and another led by a city spokesperson.
The 138th Assembly District covers Chili, Henrietta, and a wide swath of Rochester.
Bronson attempted to encourage voters to focus on his progressive record of supporting gay rights, labor rights, and reforms in the criminal justice system.
But the governance of Rochester public schools emerged as the central issue of their campaign, in part because the stances of Bronson and Yudelson’s boss, the mayor, differ so greatly on the matter.
Yudelson sided with the mayor, who has called for a complete reset of the Rochester City School District, including doing away with the school board and having the state take over the district.
Bronson favored a plan that he helped broker in Albany and that is currently unfolding, one that keeps the school board intact but has state academic and fiscal monitors overseeing things.
David Andreatta is CITY's editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.