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"He did what is good for him and this community."

Former mayor Bill Johnson discusses Richards' decision to pull out of the mayoral race.
Former Rochester mayor William Johnson believes Mayor Tom Richards did the right thing by ending his campaign. The incumbent was defeated in last week's Democratic mayoral primary.

"I think it was the right decision for him to make. I have heard from a number of sources that he was under intense pressure to stay in the race. But the only thing he could have done is to be a spoiler. It's very very hard to run on third party lines and win," said Johnson. "I just think that Tom - his heart wasn't in it to really be a spoiler. He did what is good for him and this community."

Nazareth College political science professor Timothy Kneeland said something was missing from Richards' announcement.

"What was missing in this speech was a ringing endorsement for Lovely Warren's candidacy going forward. The question remains whether he will actively campaign on her behalf," said Kneeland. "It's very likely she will be the next mayor, but it would be very nice to have Tom Richards' support going in....It really was the time to begin the healing process and to really make a sound judgment on her behalf and talk about her win, which would be healing for him as well."

Johnson believes Warren, if she wins in November, will bring new blood to City Hall, but isn't sure there will be a thorough house-cleaning.

"I think what we're going to see is a very lively administration that will deal with a whole host of issues that are confronting her, even some that she doesn't anticipate," Johnson said.

But Johnson encourages her to actively campaign against Green Party candidate Alex White.

"In my opinion, that kind of campaign serves her well because there are a lot of people who believe she's a one-issue candidate that her focus is neighborhoods," said Johnson. "I think going out and campaigning against Alex...gives her an opportunity to demonstrate the breadth of her experience and knowledge."

When Bob Duffy succeed Johnson as mayor in 2006, he immediately ended Johnson's pet project - the fast ferry. Does Johnson think Warren will do something similar?

"There are people, particularly the development community, who are very nervous about that possibility now," Johnson said. "Anyone who thinks she's going to shut down Midtown or Midtown Tower, or any other project is on the drawing board I think is going to be sorely disappointed. That's not where her head is now."

Watch Johnson's appearance on News 8 First at 4 and Kneeland's appearance on News 8 at 5 by clicking the videos above. 

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