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Warren wins Dems’ committee votes

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Mayor Lovely Warren will go into the Democratic Party’s convention on May 18 with enough support to become the party’s mayoral nominee after the first round of balloting.

As expected, most members of the Democrats’ 27th Legislative District committee voted for Warren last night. The 27th, which is based in the city’s southwest neighborhoods, was the last LD committee to vote, giving Warren more total support in the committee designation process than either of her challengers, County Legislator and former Police Chief Jim Sheppard and former television reporter Rachel Barnhart.

The committee votes were split closely between Warren and Sheppard, and this early part of the designation process has underscored the deep division in the local Democratic Party. Both Sheppard and Barnhart say they’ll challenge Warren in a Democratic primary in September.

In an upbeat statement issued after last night’s 27th district meeting, Sheppard noted that neither Warren nor her two predecessors — Bob Duffy and Bill Johnson –initially won the party’s designation, instead winning the Democratic nomination by challenging the designee in a primary.

Sheppard criticized Warren for failing to support Representative Louise Slaughter in her last re-election big and for not supporting former Brighton Town Supervisor Sandra Frankel in her race for county executive. And he reiterated his theme of “progressive leadership and ideas” and said Warren lacks “integrity and transparency.

In her statement, Barnhart charged that the party’s designation process is controlled by insiders. “I’ve participated in the process out of respect for the party, to speak with committee members, and for the chance to engage with my opponents,” she said.

Voters “have real concerns” about his record as Rochester police chief, she said. And, she charged that Sheppard failed to vote for many years, which may also be a concern for Democratic voters, she said.

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