Trailblazer Candidates Who Followed a Higher Standard Win Across Party Lines


(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) – They’re called “Trailblazers” because they aren’t waiting around for campaign finance laws to change, but step up to follow a higher standard during their campaigns.

Trailblazers PAC, the nonpartisan clean government organization, only participates in contested races where voters actually get to exercise a vote. Even foregoing the so-called “vanity endorsements” that often accompany New York’s many uncontested elections, Trailblazers PAC saw fully half of its candidates win on Tuesday night.

In Tuesday’s election, Trailblazers PAC’s endorsed candidates appeared on Republican, Democratic, and 4 other of New York’s official party lines. More than half of Trailblazers PAC’s candidates have won since the group’s founding in early 2017.

“No matter party, we’re taking back voters’ rightful role in our democratic republic,” said Leslie Danks Burke, founder and President of Trailblazers PAC. “Trailblazers aren’t just honest people, they’re powerful candidates, winning races all over since March 2017.”

“Even where our candidates came up short, voters won anyway because Trailblazers don’t just make campaign promises. Our candidates step outside the pay-to-play system to change the game during the race itself. We’re moving politics out of the back room, onto the front porch,” Danks Burke said.

Trailblazers PAC endorses and funds candidates (even if they are running against each other) running for county or municipal-level office, who 1) disclose every penny in and out of the campaign, 2) make themselves accountable to their voters by raising funds from households inside their district instead of just from special interests, and 3) commit to acting for clean government through Election Day and beyond.

Not all of New York’s 62 counties saw local-level elections this year. Trailblazers PAC endorsed candidates in Broome, Chemung, Dutchess, Monroe, Steuben, and Tompkins counties. Trailblazers PAC’s geographic reach includes the two states of New York and Pennsylvania, though Pennsylvania is not holding local-level races in 2018.

The following Trailblazer candidates were victorious in Tuesday’s election:

  • Mark Margeson, Chemung County Legislator, District 5 (Republican, Conservative)
  • Dan Livingston, Broome County, Binghamton City Council (Democratic)
  • Heather Staley, Broome County, Town of Union Council (Democratic, Working Families, Independence, Women’s Equality)
  • Matthew Brown, Monroe County, Village of Fairport Trustee (Democratic, Working Families, Independence, Women’s Equality)
  • Julie Domaratz, Monroe County, Village of Fairport Mayor (Democratic, Working Families, Independence, Women’s Equality)
  • Marshall Hyde, Steuben County, Corning City Council (Democratic)
  • Maura Kennedy-Smith, Tompkins County, Town of Lansing Justice (Democratic, Lansing Lighthouse)

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