Incumbency Advantage? Meet the Incumbents and their Challengers in Major East Coast Mayoral Races this Year – Part I Rochester


Though 2017 is a slow year for nationwide elections, the first Tuesday in November will feature mayoral races throughout the country. Over the next week, we will dive into three such races taking place on the East Coast this fall.

Common themes include police-community relations, education, and affordable housing. Each race has an incumbent seeking reelection. Today we will look at Rochester, a race including a candidate responding to legal issues, a game store owner, and a journalist. In anticipation of the September primaries here is our preview:

Rochester Mayoral Election
Date: November 7, 2017 with a September 12, 2017 Democratic Primary

Candidate Name: Lovely A. Warren
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Current Job: Mayor
Education: John Jay College of Criminal Justice (BA), Albany Law School
Campaign Themes:  During her time in office, Mayor Warren created an Early Learning Council to support pre-k for all in the city, and implemented community policing initiatives. She has had some discrepancies with campaign finance but claims to not be under investigation over the matter. She plans to increase affordable housing, while strengthening retail and commercial business to help make Rochester a city that is more attractive to tourists, and expanding education opportunities for people of all ages.
Endorsements: The Democratic Party


Candidate Name: James M. Sheppard
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Current Job: Member of the Monroe County Legislature
Campaign Themes: He plans to support those with disabilities, defend LGBTQ rights, and partner with school districts to expand college and career opportunities. He hopes to deal with crime problems by reorganizing the police department to be more transparent.
Endorsements:  The Working Families Party, City Councilmember Matt Haag, and 5 of 6 Democratic Committees.


Candidate Name: Rachel Barnhart
Party Affiliation: Democrat
Current Job: Investigative and human interest journalist for 13WHAM News and WROC-TV
Education: Cornell University
Campaign Themes: She plans to reform the property tax code to cut property taxes in half, desegregate public schools by investing in education so that every school can provide quality opportunities to students, and create a broadband internet program that will be installed in every home in Rochester.


Candidate Name: Tony Micciche
Party Affiliation: Republican
Current Job: Monroe County legislator
Campaign Themes: He plans to rescind Rochester’s sanctuary city status to improve citizen safety, deregulate business to push investment forward, and enact term-limits for City Council members (and himself), and reform and reconstruct schools to improve Rochester’s struggling system.


Candidate Name: Alex White
Party Affiliation: Green Party
Current Job: Manager of Boldo’s Armory, a game store.
Education: St John Fisher (BA), SUNY Brockport (MA)
Campaign Themes: He plans to use vacant land to create urban farms, provide 7 day a week libraries and recreation centers, and end the tax breaks received by wealthy developers in the city.


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By Brooklyn J-Flowers, BallotReady Intern