53rd Senate District

Scott Willis / WAER-FM 88.3

A young attorney and former Syracuse University football captain is trying his hand at politics.  Republican Sam Rodgers officially launched his campaign Wednesday, hoping to unseat freshman Democratic State Senator Rachel May in November. 

Scott Willis/WAER News and janetburman.com

Many voters in the State Senate’s 53rd District might not know the seat is wide open considering it could help tip the balance of the chamber to the Democrats. 


Senator Dave Valesky had decided to end his campaign for re-election, saying the time has come to move on.  Valesky narrowly lost the democratic primary to Rachel May earlier this month.  He released a statement today that indicated the difficult choice he had to make.

Scott Willis

A tally of the absentee ballots from last week’s primary will likely determine the outcome Thursday or Friday for two undecided races.  Rachel May currently leads incumbent Dave Valesky in the 53rd senate district race by about 600 votes, and there are more than 1,200 absentee ballots from the three counties to count up.  


Democrats in the state senate’s 53rd district will have a choice on tomorrow’s ballot between a long-term in incumbent and a progressive challenger.  Dave Valesky is trying to fend off strong opposition from Rachel May.   

Scott Willis/WAER News

New York Senate Candidate Rachel May says the disbanding of the Independent Democratic Conference might open the door for progressive change in the state.  The IDC was a small faction within the Democratic Party that typically caucused and voted with Republicans.  May is challenging incumbent David Valesky, a now-former IDC member, for the 53rd district seat.  She says she hopes to help change the attitude in the State Senate.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A Syracuse resident who’s been politically active behind the scenes for decades has decided it’s her turn to enter the fray as a candidate.   Rachel May is seeking the democratic nomination for the 53rd district senate seat held by Dave Valesky.   She wants to make a few things clear:

"I am a mother, an educator, a concerned citizen, and a democrat," she declared.