Potential Congressional candidates continue push to collect signatures

Candidates went door-to-door, looking for signatures Thursday (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (13WHAM) - Despite the elements Thursday, potential candidates for the 25th Congressional Seat were out collecting signatures for their respective petitions, in case they decide to run.

The seat was held by the late Louise Slaughter for more than 30 years.

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle announced his candidacy Monday, surrounded by friends, family, and some of the biggest names in the local Democratic party.

Some voters, like Kelli Ruest, say they think Morelle has the backing to run a Congressional campaign. But she still wants to see what other potential candidates can offer before voting.

"If somebody has a lead or a lock, it's probably more important to have another choice," said Ruest.

Potential candidates also say Morelle has the resources for a strong congressional campaign.

"That doesn't mean he's (Morelle) not beatable," says former mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart, who's collecting signatures as she mulls a congressional run. "We think it's so important to have another choice on the ballot."

RSCD School Board president Van White agrees. "No one should presume the baton will pass to Joe Morelle because he has all the endorsements and all the money," said White.

"Louise was a fighter, and anybody who walks into this spot is going to have to fight to get in there and fight to keep it," he added.

Both Barnhart and White were out collecting signatures Thursday, as were volunteers for Brighton Town Councilperson Robin Wilt, who confirmed her candidacy to 13WHAM on Monday.

Dr. Jim Maxwell announced his candidacy for the seat back in January. Maxwell is running on the Republican ticket.

13WHAM reached out to Governor Cuomo's office on Thursday to see if a special election would be held ahead of the November elections, but there's still no word if that will happen.

Potential candidates need at least 1,250 signatures on their petitions by April 12.

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