At first blush I didn't see how Maggie Brooks' endorsement could help Lovely Warren in her campaign for Rochester mayor. Many people believe that the county has turned its back on the city, so why would they listen to anything that the Republican county executive has to say?
And Brooks' administration has had some issues with race, beginning with the racially divisive Pac-Man ad that ran during her first campaign. And there was a clear racial undercurrent to the public defender's search a few years ago — a process that was hijacked by the county GOP. Why would Warren, who has strong support from many in the black community, even want Brooks' backing?
It's worth noting that former mayor Bill Johnson was at the press conference this morning where Brooks endorsed Warren. I'll go out on a limb, too, and say that Johnson probably helped set the whole thing up. Johnson supports Warren and seemed to have a decent relationship with Brooks when he was mayor. (Johnson is the one that the Brooks team used the Pac-Man ad against, by the way. It's true what they say about politics and bedfellows.)
What Brooks' backing gives Warren is stature. Warren's opponents and critics say that she is neither prepared nor qualified to be mayor. She would also be the youngest person ever elected to the office. One of Warren's opponents, incumbent mayor Tom Richards, has a long history of public and private service — and Richards' backers are running hard in the lead up to the November 5 general election.
Brooks' star is on the wane after years of scandal and controversy, as well as the solid thumping handed to her by Democrat Louise Slaughter when Brooks ran for Congress last year. But Brooks is still a major-leaguer capable of raising gobs of cash. If she says that Warren is ready, it may elevate Warren in the public's eyes.
Another thing to keep in mind: contracts. There is a ton of money in play here — not the least of which is the $1 billion schools modernization project. I'm sure the county GOP would like their cronies — and donors — to have a shot at that money tree.