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Richards could stop campaign
Rochester, N.Y. -- The campaign to re-elect Mayor Tom Richards is gaining momentum, money, and attention in the community despite backing a candidate who has publicly endorsed his opponent.
Richards lost the Democratic Primary in September, ended his campaign a week later, and endorsed City Council President Lovely Warren who defeated him in that primary. Yet Richards remains on the November ballot thanks to previous nominations on the Independence and Working Families Party ballot lines. Green Party Candidate Alex White is also running for the second time.
"There is an energized group of people out there that believe in Tom Richards they believe in what he's done, they believe in him as a human being," said Thomas Cray a spokesman for the "Turn Out For Tom" campaign.
Cray said he has been friends with Richards since 1982 and he joined about a dozen other people who felt the same way after the September Primary loss and organized this campaign.
Richards said last week that he is not involved in this campaign but he also refused to denounce it and said he could not tell anyone involved to stop.
"He hasn't called anybody and said stop and he's not going to do it, he's not going to say stop," explained Cray. "If he didn't want this to happen, it's not him wanting this to happen one way or another, but if this was really hurting him I'd probably get a phone call and say, listen I really appreciate this but it's time to stop....that phone call comes in, I'm done."
Cray believes Richards is also keeping his distance as he deals with the grief of losing his son to a long battle with cancer just two weeks after that primary loss. Richards is also busy with his daily duties as Mayor.
Another question that remains unanswered is whether Richards will serve if this campaign is successful on Election Day. Or more specifically, does Richards still want to be Mayor after this term?
"I think he would take the challenge on easily, absolutely," said his friend Thomas Cray. "I think if this were to happen where he would garner the votes I think he would say to you or to me, alright the people spoke this is what they want I'm willing to do this."
Lovely Warrens said on Tuesday that she feels for the Mayor because people close to him have put him in this situation even after he chose to put his family before politics. Warren said she appreciates Richards' endorsement and is continuing to campaign with a focus on winning the General Election.
Last week, Green Party Candidate Alex White said that he believes the Mayor made it clear that he is no longer campaigning and White considers him to be out of the race. White would like the conversation to shift back to the issues that he said he's been campaigning on for months.