Local Republicans hopeful despite challenges

Andrew Hyman
Created: February 15, 2020 06:57 PM

ROCHESTER N.Y. (WHEC) – Local Republican leaders say victory is still possible even as they send some fresher candidates into the political ring.

Locally, the party has seen several long-standing leaders announce retirement at the end of their terms.


Senator Joe Robach is retiring after 29 years.

Senator Michael Ranzenhofer is retiring after 12 years.

Senator Rich Funke is retiring after six years. 

More recently, assemblymen Brian Kolb and Peter Lawrence have announced they are not seeking re-election.

Party leaders like committee chair Bill Napier say this is a new frontier for Republicans that opens the door to some new candidates.

Among those candidates is Greece Town Councilman Josh Jensen. Jensen is vying for a spot in New York State Assembly’s 134th District, which Peter Lawrence still represents.

"We've been blessed in our community, whether it’s been in the senate or the assembly, to have great leaders who stand up for our community,” Jensen says. “My goal for running for this seat is to continue that."

Jensen joined other candidates and party leaders at its committee convention on Saturday, where he officially received the party’s designation for the seat.

You can view the full list of the designations here.

"I'm excited, I can't wait to get those people out there and introduce them to the public," Napier says.

On Friday, Napier had said seats opening up is just “part of a cycle.”

On the other side of the aisle, energy has been growing too. Democrats now control a majority in both the state senate and the assembly.

The Monroe County Democratic Committee held its convention on Feb.1.

Senate candidate Christopher Missik sees the challenge as an opportunity, though. Missik is running for the 55th District.

"When we advocate on issues that are impacting people’s lives, and our solutions will make their lives better, I think Democrats will come along with us," he says.

With just four months until the primaries, candidates like Missik and Jensen tell us they're ready to represent.

Both local primaries will be held on Tuesday June 23.

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