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Dems have primaries, so many primaries


Democrats totally control Rochester city government, which means that any year that city offices are on the ballot, there will be primaries. And oh boy, are there primaries this year: for school board seats, for every City Council district seat up for grabs, and for a few County Legislature seats.

Candidates had until the end of the day Thursday to turn in petitions, which are subject to challenges and verification. Candidates can get knocked off the ballot during that process.

The city school board race ought to be especially contentious this year given all that's facing the district. By the time the next board is seated, the district will have a new superintendent. And board members and district officials will likely be in the midst of implementing their response to state-appointed Distinguished Educator Jaime Aquino's report on the district's dysfunction.

City Democratic committees designated Brighton teacher Amy Maloy; Pathways to Peace youth intervention and gang specialist Anthony Hall Jr.; retired teacher and activist Howard Eagle; and sitting school board member Judith Davis. Several candidates have filed to challenge them:

  • Incumbent school board members Willa Powell and Beatriz LeBron.
  • Ricardo Adams, a longtime classroom volunteer and education advocate who was an integral member of the Community Task Force on School Climate. He works at the Center for Youth and is also an anti-racism activist.
  • Robert Hoggard is a PhD student at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education and a member of  Metro Justice's leadership council.
  • Andria Bryant, a member of the steering committee for MAMA, the Movement for Anti-Racist Ministry and Action.
  • Clifford Florence, associate minister of Central Church of Christ.
Two of the City Council races have potentially crowded fields. In the East District, five candidates have filed to challenge progressive activist and designated candidate Mary Lupien:
  • Bryce Miller, vice chair of the North Winton Village neighborhood group and operations manager for Jaguar Land Rover of Rochester.
  • Felicia Astacio, the sister of embattled former City Court Judge Leticia Astacio.  She owns and operates a licensed day care facility.
  • Stanley Martin, a member of the Police Accountability Board Alliance.
  • Wayne Harris, former deputy chief of the Rochester Police Department.
  • Michael Geraci, an attorney who serves on several professional and nonprofit boards.
In the Northeast District, incumbent and designated candidate Michael Patterson faces likely challenges from Norman Simmons Jr., a quality improvement specialist at Jordan Health Center and an East High basketball coach, and Perry Johnson, who sought a different Council seat in 2015 and at the time worked at Villa of Hope.

In the Northwest District, designated candidate LaShana Boose, an adjunct faculty member at Monroe Community College and a legal secretary at the Rochester City School District, faces three potential challengers:
  • Leticia Astacio, the former City Court judge who's had cascading legal troubles stemming from a 2016 DWI conviction, is one of them.  On Friday, a jury found her not guilty of a felony weapons charge; she was accused of trying to buy a shotgun while she  was on probation. She's currently working as an attorney in private practice.
  • Jose Peo, a mortgage loan officer, community volunteer, and former US Army signals intel analyst.
  • Lydia Rivera-Warr, legislative assistant to current Northwest District City Council member Molly Clifford.

Democrats designated current County Legislator LaShay Harris for the South District seat on City Council after incumbent Adam McFadden, who had already received the designation, decided to end his campaign. McFadden was arrested on federal charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering; he pleaded guilty to at least some of the charges on Monday. She faces potential challenges from Frank Martin III, who's worked as a science teacher in the city school district for 22 years, and Ann Lewis, a city school district educator who ran a primary against McFadden in 2015.

Democrats are running pretty close to a full slate for the County Legislature, and the party is looking at six possible primaries for those seats:
  • In the 13th District, which covers most of Henrietta and part of Pittsford, designated candidate Michael Yudelson could face a challenge from Terence Steg. Yudelson is a former Henrietta supervisor — he was a Republican at the time but has since switched parties — and Steg previously ran for Pittsford Town Board.
  • In the 21st District, designated candidate Victor Sanchez could face a challenge from Rachel Barnhart. The two went head to head during the designating process, and some of Barnhart's supporters asked the party to refrain from designating a candidate because of voting irregularities. But committee and party leaders argued that the process was above board.
  • A three-way primary is looming in the 23rd District.  The party designated Linda Hasman for the seat, but Scotty Ginett and Todd Grady filed petitions to run as well.  Hasman is a medical librarian, Ginett is an M&T Bank branch operations coordinator, and Grady works in real estate.
  • The 25th District designated candidate, incumbent John Lightfoot, could face a challenge from Montgomery Bryant.
  • The designated candidate in the 26th District, Yversha Roman, faces a likely primary challenge from Anthony Micciche, the incumbent. Micciche was a Republican until he switched parties this year and in 2015, Roman ran against him.
  • And in the 27th District where there is no designated candidate, Ebony Dukes and Sabrina LaMar filed to run. Dukes works for Person Centered Services as a care coordinator for children and adults with developmental, intellectual, and mental health disabilities. LaMar is project coordinator for the Community Engagement to Reduce Victimization (CERV) project at RIT's Center for Public Safety Initiatives. She also chairs the education committee of the ROC Against Gun Violence Coalition.
This post has been updated to reflect Leticia Astacio's acquittal and to correct Sabrina LaMar's background.