MCDC Failure Explained

A couple of years ago, I posted a long rant about the Monroe County Democratic Party. I thought that the chair, Joe Morelle, should step down, because he had failed to place even a token candidate on the slate for County Executive, the top race on the ticket.

Today, at Mustard Street, writer Philbrick explains why Morelle didn't field a candidate in 2007: he wants the job himself. The evidence that Philbrick gives in his piece is fairly convincing. Morelle has risked the ire of public unions, critical in the inner city but not a power in the suburbs, to support Mayor Robert Duffy's plan to take over the Rochester schools. And Duffy has engaged the services of a major strategy group, which would indicate that he's looking at Federal or statewide office, not County Executive.

If you're not convinced by Philbrick's analysis, here are a couple more points. First, Morelle is sponsoring Katie's law, which is a "tough on crime" measure that would allow cops to take DNA samples from suspects, not those convicted. That's probably unconstitutional, but it would certainly be popular with suburban conservatives. Second, there's the whole 2007 County Executive debacle, mentioned above. If you're county chair and want to run for County Executive, but the time isn't right, you're going to make sure that nobody else runs, no matter what this does to the party.

Monroe County is key to Massa's victory in 2008, and to his re-election in 2010, but the party apparatus here is completely useless. In the last 10 years, Democrats have gone from a 4,000 voter registration advantage to a 40,000 voter advantage over Republicans. Yet Republicans still control the legislature. After the last election, one Democrat even switched parties, which indicates that there's little hope that Democrats will regain control anytime soon.

Since he's now running for County Executive, I'm sure Joe Morelle will be hoarding MCDC assets for his coming race. Eric Massa will once again have to run his own get out the vote operation. The status quo in Monroe County won't change until the leadership changes.