When Joe Morelle announced he would run for the late Louise Slaughter’s congressional seat, he was supported by a who’s who of Monroe County Democrats.
His backers included Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, County Clerk Adam Bello — and even Slaughter’s daughter and son-in-law.
And on Tuesday, he won even more support from Democratic voters who cast ballots in the primary for the 25th District seat.
Humble is the great way to describe election night at Morelle headquarters. At the Monroe County Democratic Committee office on University Avenue, some pizza and snacks were set up in the back, for mostly reporters and a few volunteers and committee staff
We were told ahead of time that Morelle would take in results at home, and join the press after the results came in.
With his family on one side and members of Slaughter's family on the other, he talked about how short the campaign process was for this race.
"In most elections you have a long time to sort of prepare and get your head around it this was something that was obviously unexpected, its not often you follow and icon and work to preserve her legacy."
Morelle says his win shows that votes in the 25th district value experience, and that too much is at stake to ignore that. He’s served over 20 years in the state assembly.
Morelle defeated challengers Rachel Barnhart, Adam McFadden, and Robin Wilt. His win places him as the Democratic candidate in the general election, where he’ll face Republican James Maxwell, a neurosurgeon from East Rochester.
Monroe County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Jamie Romeo says they are happy voter turnout was higher than most predicted, and hopes the party can now come together in November.
"We've heard a lot of issues over the course of the campaign, we had 4 dedicated democrats that were all running and now we have to all get behind our candidate to make sure we keep Louise's seat blue."
Morelle garnered 45% of the vote; Rachel Barnhart had just under 20%; Adam McFadden and Robin Wilt each had just over 17% of the vote.
Morelle is the majority leader of the New York State Assembly. He has been in the Assembly since 1991.