February 13, 2017
Leslie Danks Burke issued the following statement on Monday afternoon:
HORSEHEADS, NY – I am in the humbling and flattering position of receiving multiple calls to run as a Congressional candidate in New York’s 23rd district. As I believe in transparency, I want to respond to those calls immediately.
My 2016 State Senate campaign team and I were proud to garner 45% of the vote, well over the 32% Democratic voter registration in our 5-county district. The 58th State Senate district makes up about half the size, and a similar voter pattern, to the 11-county 23rd Congressional district. Earning 13 points over the base registration against a three-term Republican incumbent in a tough year for Democrats didn’t happen many places anywhere in the country. My team and I credit that outcome to our relentless focus on outreach to voters in all corners in our rural district, and it makes sense that people would think of my name when considering who will go represent us in Washington, DC.
Yet my heart lies with the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes and with the people of New York. My team and I haven’t stopped the hard work we put in during the 2016 cycle to build lasting change from the bottom up, to a political system that costs taxpayer money and rewards corruption at the top. I have launched Trailblazers PAC to invest the energy and resources of my 2016 campaign into candidates for local office across the state who stand against pay-to-play politics and corruption.
I am removing myself early from the field of potential Congressional candidates to clear the way for others who may wish to step in, for our political leaders to find and encourage those candidates, and to continue my work in funneling citizen energy into a grassroots base for a bright future. I hope to see a vigorous conversation unfold in the months ahead.