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Dems ready to choose candidates


In what could be a fractious convention, Monroe County Democrats will gather on May 18 to designate their party's candidates for the November general election.

On their list: Rochester mayor, City Council, School Board, sheriff, City Court, and an eastside County Legislature seat. While some positions aren't being hotly contested, the big city races – mayor, Council, and school board – are.

Mayor Lovely Warren will go to the convention with enough support to win the Democrats' designation. But County Legislator Jim Sheppard and former television reporter Rachel Barnhart are already planning to challenge Warren in a Democratic primary in September.

More than a dozen people have been seeking the Democrats' designation for the five at-large City Council seats. Four already have enough support to be chosen in the convention's first round of voting: incumbents Loretta Scott, Jackie Ortiz, and Dana Miller and school board member Malik Evans, who wants to move to City Council.

The voting fight for the fifth spot could be tense, however. Council's sole LGBTQ representative, Matt Haag, isn't seeking re-election, and some committee members want Rochester teacher Matt Juda to replace him. Others are pushing respected former County Legislator Willie J. Lightfoot.

Only one of the six candidates for the three school board seats, legislative district committee leader Beatriz Lebron, has gained enough support to be guaranteed the designation at the convention. Both incumbents seeking re-election – Cynthia Elliott and board president Van White – will have to try to win the designation Thursday.