Sen. James Alesi (R-Rochester) told the Daily News Wednesday night that he believes his vote in favor of the landmark gay marriage legislation would have severely hampered his chances in a GOP primary this year.
He said the vote — which passed 33-29 due to the GOP defectors — cost him the support of the leadership of the local Republican and Conservative parties. They are now backing his primary opponent.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from Democrats and the gay community, but unfortunately they can’t vote in a Republican primary,” said Alesi, now in his eighth term.
... Believing that his political brand was weakened by the gay marriage vote, Alesi said he decided to step aside out of fear that a bruising primary would eventually cost the GOP his seat — and with it potentially the party’s razor-thin Senate majority.