In the 2014 Labor Day parade in Rochester, New York
|Member of the New York Senate|
from the 55th district
|Assumed office |
January 1, 2015
|Preceded by||Ted O'Brien|
|Born||January 30, 1949|
Batavia, New York
|Residence||Fairport, New York|
|Alma mater||Adelphi University|
|Occupation||Newsreader, journalist, anchorman|
Funke is a Republican who was elected in November 2014 when he defeated Democratic incumbent Ted O'Brien. Prior to his election, Funke had for almost 40 years been a news anchor and sports director for WHEC-TV, the NBC affiliate station in Rochester, New York.
Funke is a former radio disk jockey, radio and television journalist and television sports reporter and news anchor in Rochester, NY. He began his career in broadcasting at WBTA in Batavia, New York. From there he worked as a news reader and reporter at WHAM in Rochester before moving in 1972 to WAXC a top 40 station as its news director. After WAXC he was brought on as a sports director at WHEC-TV in 1974. After a stint at WTVJ-TV in Miami, Florida from 1980 to 1981 he returned to Rochester and his previous position at WHEC-TV.
In 2005, Funke became the primary anchor of the evening news at 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m. at WHEC-TV before retiring in 2012 as one of the main faces of the station.
In March, 2014 Funke announced his candidacy for the 55th senate district seat against incumbent Democrat Ted O'Brien. After a closely contested race between the two candidates Funke defeated O' Brien with 56% of the vote.
Despite the district being significantly gerrymandered, it remains a competitive seat. Despite this, Funke ran unopposed in 2016. However in 2018, he was a top Democratic target, ultimately winning re-election against Democrat Jen Lunsford 52% to 48%.
Awards and honors
Funke was inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame in December, 2012 shortly after his retirement.
On December 27, 2014, the Rochester Lancers of the Major Arena Soccer League inducted Funke into the Rochester Lancers Wall of Fame as one of Rochester's "soccer pioneers". Funke was the television play-by-play announcer for the original Rochester Lancers of the North American Soccer League.
- "Rich Funke takes Ted O'Brien's Senate seat". Democrat & Chronicle. 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "Rich Funke, former news anchor, considers political run". Democrat & Chronicle. 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
- "Rich Funke announces candidacy for Senate". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
- "Spectrum News | Rochester". spectrumlocalnews.com. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
- "Our Campaigns - NY State Senate 55 Race - Nov 06, 2018". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
- DiVeronica, Jeff (December 11, 2014). "Sarachan, Funke, Durante, Short to be inducted to Lancers Wall of Fame". Democrat and Chronicle. Rochester, NY: Gannett. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
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|New York State Senate|
| New York State Senate, 55th District
January 1, 2015 – present
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