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Judicial candidates prepare for primary

The ballot positions have been established in the three-way primary race for a new Rochester City Court judge seat.

The positions were drawn Tuesday for the primary election scheduled for Sept. 9.

William T. Gargan

William T. Gargan

William T. Gargan, who received the backing of the Monroe County Democratic Committee, will top the ballot. Fellow Democratic candidates Michael C. Lopez and Leticia D. Astacio will follow.

Gargan is chief of the Monroe County District’s Attorney’s Office’s Domestic Violence Bureau. He has worked with the office since 1998 and has served as bureau chief in the economic crime and County Court.

Gargan said he calls on his vast experience, and noted he has earned the confidence of his party and peers.

“I can accomplish the most because I’ve done the most,” Gargan said.

Lopez is special assistant public defender who has worked for the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office for 15 years. He has been coach, vice president and treasurer with the Flower City Soccer League.

Michael C. Lopez

Michael C. Lopez

Although Lopez did not receive the party’s designation, he said is happy with the support he has received in getting on the primary ballot, which is a reflection of his diverse legal experience and commitment to the community.

“I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting the voters, one on one,” Lopez said.

Astacio, who is a former prosecutor and served as senior assistant district attorney in the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Bureau, has operated her own practice since 2011.

Astacio, noting media reports of a lack of diversity on the bench, said she is best suited for change. She also noted her support from the community in earning a spot on the primary ballot as proof her campaign is being embraced.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could win,” Astacio said.

Leticia Astacio

Leticia Astacio

The three candidates are running for a seat created at the recommendation of an independent committee that studied city court operations and case volume around the state. Several cities, including Buffalo and Syracuse, also are getting new judges.

The full-time position carries a 10-year term.

A new judge will take office Jan. 1, 2015.