September 12, 2017 11:47 PM
Lovely Warren has won the Democratic primary race for Rochester mayor.
Four years ago, the mayor surprised everyone with an upset of Tom Richards in the 2013 primary. Tuesday night, she easily survived a challenge from former police chief James Sheppard and former television journalist Rachel Barnhart.
At Warren's campaign headquarters, the crowd was excited for the mayor's big win.
Speaking to supporters, Mayor Warren said the race wasn't easy, but her campaign was able to gut it out. "Our prospects in this election weren't always that good. We were the underdog through the committee process, but we persevered. Our opponents distorted our record and challenged our successes, but we believed."
Many thought former Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard had the name recognition to make this a competitive race. But in the end, he was unable to pry support from Lovely Warren's base.
While he is on Working Families and Independence party lines, Sheppard says his campaign is finished.
"I know everyone wants to talk about what comes up in November," Sheppard said. "My mind is set... This is really what it's about, winning the primary and that did not happen. So, as far as my run for mayor, it is done."
Sheppard still holds a seat in the county legislature.
As for Barnhart, she told our reporter she had prepared herself for Tuesday's result. But, she is pleased with her performance, adding that she was able to compete closely with Sheppard -- despite having fewer funds in her war chest.
"A three-way race is very hard," she told us. "I was the underfunded candidate. I was always the candidate who was going to have an uphill battle."
When asked if experience was an issue in the race, Barnhart told us, "Well then, what was James Sheppard's excuse? I was right there with him. So clearly experience was not an issue."
As for the Rochester City Council, 13 people were on the ballot for five Democratic spots. Tuesday night, Loretta Scott, Malik Evans, Willie Lightfoot, Jackie Ortiz and Mitch Gruber were able to win those seats.
On the school board, Van White, Cynthia Elliott and Natalie Sheppard filled three spots.
You can track our full election results by clicking here.
Updated: September 12, 2017 11:47 PM
Created: September 12, 2017 09:48 PM
Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company