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Retired anchor expected to run for Senate
Perinton, N.Y. - Former television news and sports anchor Rich Funke is expected to launch a political campaign for New York State Senate according to multiple sources.
Ive made no announcement yet, Funke noted in a phone conversation with 13WHAM News Monday afternoon. But I am and have been concerned about the direction of New York State and the country for some time.
Funke, 64, was an on-air broadcaster for more than forty years. For 38 years he was an on-air sports and news anchor for WHEC, Channel 10 in Rochester. He retired in 2012, the same year he moved with his wife from Greece to Perinton. Funke lived in Irondequoit for many years prior to moving to Greece. This would be Funkes first political campaign of any kind provided he follows through with what sources expect.
Numerous sources with knowledge of the situation spoke to 13WHAM News on the condition of anonymity. Each expressed excitement over the likelihood that Funke would challenge sitting Senator Ted OBrien (D, Irondequoit) in the 2014 election.
Retired Funke has remained active in many local charities including Camp Good Days and Special Times, Rochester Press Radio, and the Golisanos Childrens Hospital.
Funke was most recently seen while serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the swearing-in of Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich. Reilich is also the chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, a party that Funke will seek the support of.
Funke is a registered Republican after years of remaining an independent or blank voter. Sources confirm he has attended one meeting of the Perinton Republican Party Committee meeting in the past year. Funke informed 13WHAM News that he is not a member of any party committee but expects to be soon.
New Yorks 55th District State Senate seat is currently represented by Democrat Ted OBrien who won election in the newly-drawn district in 2012. OBrien defeated Republican Sean Hanna in a hotly contested race in which millions of dollars were spent by the combined campaigns.
The NY-55th District extends from Irondequoit in Monroe County to Naples in Southwestern Ontario County. It also includes suburbs such as Penfield, Perinton, Rush, Honeoye, Bloomfield, and Bristol.
When contacted by phone about this report Funke told 13WHAM News that he is interested in any job that makes this community a better place and that he intends on making a decision about his future before the snow melts.
Numerous sources with knowledge of the situation tell 13WHAM News that unless something unexpected occurs, Funke is the candidate.
"After years of being an unbiased reporter of the issues and news in this community, being in a position to actually do something about it seems to be a logical next step," Funke said.
13WHAM has received a statement from Senator O'Brien's campaign spokesman, Thomas Morrisey:
"Senator OBrien fully expects to have an opponent this year and is confident he will be re-elected on the strength of his record of delivering tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses, securing investments to create jobs in our community, and fighting to clean up Albany and give New Yorkers the government they deserve. While others can worry about the politics of the day, Senator O'Brien remains focused on serving the hardworking men and women of Monroe and Ontario Counties and will continue working tirelessly to improve their lives."