Joe Morelle will step down as chair of the Monroe County Democratic Committee when his term expires in September. He announced his decision at a press conference this morning.
"It's really time to allow this organization to grow in a different way," Morelle said.
A new leader will be chosen after he steps down.
Morelle became party chair in May 2005. At the time, Democrats were struggling financially and bitterly divided among different factions, he said. A viable county party is necessary in order to win races, Morelle said during his remarks this morning. And as chair he said he tried to bring a sense of purpose and direction to the organization, worked to improve fund raising, and moved the party into a new headquarters.
And Democrats' countywide enrollment advantage has grown, he said. State Board of Elections records show that in Monroe County, Democrats had an enrollment advantage of approximately 8,000 in 2005, but as of April 2014 that advantage had grown to 46,000.
"Our party is on the ascendancy," Morelle said.
Morelle said he's stepping down because of his new duties as the State Assembly's majority leader. His decision is not the result of the 2013 mayoral election, where he backed incumbent Tom Richards over eventual winner Lovely Warren, he said.
Morelle also wouldn't speculate on who the next leader might be, and said he isn't aware of a shortlist since he hadn't talked much about his decision.
"I don't think anyone has had an opportunity to think about that," he said.