Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle may have clinched the chance to be on the ballot for the 25th Congressional seat this fall but challenger Adam McFadden say he still has more work to do.
“Honestly I want him to work on doing constituency work,” said McFadden, who is also Rochester City Council Vice President. “He’s been in Albany a long time and I really think because of his tenure in Albany that he’s lost touch a little bit with people.”
McFadden clarified that his comment wasn’t meant as a knock to Morelle but was said “out of love.” McFadden was first elected in 2003 and has spent 15 years speaking with city voters and residents. During debates, he idenitifed himself as the candidate with the most awareness of the hurdles facing people living in the city. He says he’s also spent more than a decade fighting those issues but was ultimalre disappointed by the low voter turnout.
“I knew when I saw the numbers,” he said. ““we just have to do better with voter education, we really do.We have a lot of work to do. And that’s not about my candidacy, that’s about the process in general. We cannot have say in the process if we don’t participate in the process.”
But McFadden says he’s not disappointed by his campaign and wouldn’t make any changes. He says above all he can sleep Tuesday night because he stayed true to himself: “I am who I am. I’m comfortable in my skin and I won’t change for anybdy and so when I stared this race there were people asking ‘are you going to cut your hair?’ I’m not going to stop being me.”
However he maintains that his message, centered on city experiences and issues didn’t alienate voters outside of the city’s limits.
“We’re not really worried about Adam losing votes. On the contrary, we’re excited to welcome people to his message,” said Silvano Orsi, president of the Little Italy association. “We support what he’s trying to do for inner-city folks and those on the outskirts of the district…It’s not just about the black vote for him either and we’re living proof of that.”
But for many in the room, it was more about supporting McFadden, the person not the candidate.
“I’ve known him since I was 14,” said Akiim DeShay. He flew from Dallas, Texas to watch the primary. He says one time in college, he and McFadden were pulled over by officers who began roughing up DeShay.
“They were having a pretty good time with me but when things got ridiculous Adam got out of the car, knowing it was a dangerous situation, with his hands up, head down and asked ‘officer is this necessary?’ they grabbed their guns and pulled them out, asking ‘do you want to go to jail too?’”
He says McFadden got back in the car but that this interaction highlighted McFadden’s commitment to protecting others and doing what’s right. And DeShay believes McFadden would’ve brought those traits to D.C.
McFadden maintains that he’ll work with Morrelle as the race to the general election begins: “People still want representation, they want to make sure we’re working on the real issues that are important to this district and one person cant do it alone. We have to work together to get that done.