Barnhart reflects on political run, what's next

Former TV journalist Rachel Barnhart shares failed political run was an eye opening experience (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - Former TV reporter and anchor Rachel Barnhart became part of "the story" herself when she ran and lost in a primary for New York State Assembly.

Wednesday, she told 13WHAM why the experience was, for her, a rude awakening.

Incumbent Harry Bronson easily defeated Barnhart in the Democratic Party race for the 138th Assembly District by a 10 percent margin. But it wasn't an easy campaign.

“We're disappointed with the outcome of course,” Barnhart said. “I’m leaving this race with my integrity. I’m really proud of the race that we ran."

Barnhart thanked her supporters, and said she has no regrets.

However, she said politics is a tough game that she's not sure she'll ever want to play again.

"Coming from a journalism background, we appreciate fairness and accuracy,” she said. “That doesn't exist in politics. And that was a rude awakening for me. Pretty much anything goes. People can write lies about you in the mail, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Barnhart called political attacks by Bronson supporters damaging. She claims gender played a role in her race.

"From online attacks, smear websites, it was a very, very difficult thing to deal with,” Barnhart explained. "That's toxic and destructive and that's why woman get paid less in the workforce because we trivialize their work."

So what's next for die-hard Rochester native? News doesn’t appear to be on her radar, but she said she’s open to all possibilities.

For now, she's considering a couple ideas, and won’t, “close any doors.”

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I really don’t know,” she said. "Whatever I do next, I’m hoping I can serve my community.”

In the meantime, she plans to take some time and assess her political experience.

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