Author: Rachel Barnhart
Update at end of article.
The 2018 midterm election results show some familiar divides in Monroe county – city-suburbs and eastside-westside. The results also show suburban voters continued their tradition of ticket-splitting, or not voting a straight party line.
Check out our interactive maps. Click on each election district for results.
This divide was most apparent in the gubernatorial election. Democrat Andrew Cuomo won the city, Brighton, East Rochester, Henrietta, Perinton and Pittsford. Cuomo lost Penfield by a sliver and lost Webster decisively. The west side suburbs went solidly for Republican Marc Molinaro.
In the congressional race, Democrat Joe Morelle performed better than Cuomo all around, but the same divide was apparent. Maxwell picked up Webster, Sweden, Riga, Parma, Ogden, Greece, Clarkson and Chili.
Congress 25th District
Morelle picked up Gates and Penfield , which Cuomo lost, showing that people cross party lines.
Perhaps no other race showed ticket-splitting more than the 55th State Senate District. Democrat Jen Lunsford won the city, but Republican Rich Funke won every town except Pittsford, which Lunsford won by 37 votes. This shows eastside suburbanites were not were not loyal to a party.
State Senate 55th District
Democrats outnumber Republicans 7 to 1 in the City of Rochester – and they vote accordingly. In the 56th District State Senate race, Joe Robach was competitive in Maplewood and Charlotte, but Democrat Jeremy Cooney still beat him in the city and Brighton. Robach came up huge in his hometown of Greece, wiping out all of Cooney’s gains.
Despite their victories, Robach and Funke will likely not survive 2022’s redistricting, as we explain in this post.
State Senate 56th District
Looking Ahead to Dinolfo-Bello
Democratic County Clerk Adam Bello is expected to challenge incumbent Republican Cheryl Dinolfo for County Executive.
Democratic insiders believe the math is on their side. Democrats have been unable to turn their enrollment advantage into a win for county executive for three decades, thanks to ticket-splitting, a weak party apparatus and angst over metro government and property taxes. But times may have changed. Democrats are fired up because of Trump and they proved they know how to turn out. Many Democrats are so turned off by Republicans, they would vote for the devil himself if he was a Democrat.
These strategists also believe Bello’s simply more popular than Dinolfo. He doesn’t have to make much of a case for change, they say. Republicans are so worried about Bello, they openly talk of replacing Dinolfo on the ballot. Robach and Funke will need new jobs soon.
Dinolfo’s best weapon is saying that Bello will raise taxes. Much of what Democrats complain about, such as a lack of Early Intervention funding, can only be solved with more revenue. Dinolfo could respond to every Bello complaint with, “How are you going to solve (insert problem), Adam? Where is the money going to come from?” If Bello can’t answer that question, he’s got a big problem.
Dinolfo just cut the property tax rate. For years, Democrats have complained the GOP leadership has been irresponsible in not raising more revenue. There are great arguments for raising county property taxes, but that’s probably not a winning issue in one the most property tax-burdened counties in the country.
Will issues matter if blue voters stay blue? The New York Times recently warned about suburban voters. They vote as homeowners, taxpayers and parents of school-age kids. The Funke-Lunsford race is instructive, as Funke clearly won a lot of suburban Democrats and Independents.
Finally, a wild card for Bello is the campaign finance investigation that is ensnaring Mayor Lovely Warren and Monroe County Democratic Committee Chairwoman Brittaney Wells. (Wells was Warren’s campaign manager.) They will likely be distracted and could prove to be big liabilities. If indictments come out, Dinolfo can justifiably tie Warren to Bello. Elected Democrats deliberately looked the other way. In this race, each side will claim the other is corrupt, but this time, Republicans will be well-armed.
Read: Election Results
Update Here is a tweet posted by the Monroe County Communications Director:
.@CherylDinolfo is the candidate. Residents know her record on growing jobs, cutting taxes, and supporting families is strong. She’s looking forward to running on that record in ‘19. @rachbarnhart https://t.co/3EoiT9LKXa
— Jesse Sleezer (@jlsleezer) December 19, 2018