(WBEN) Several candidates are jockeying for the right to replace longtime chair Len Lenihan as head of the county's Democrats, and behind the scenes, there are some people urging a challenge to Republican chair Nick Langworthy too during elections coming up in October..
While several elected officials are gearing up for a primary election in the middle of September-- behind the scenes there's some developments in two other elections that take place after that. Within 20 days of next month's primary, the party faithful in Erie County will also vote on who their chairman is.
WHO SHOULD REPLACE LENIHAN? IS LANGWORTHY DOING A GOOD JOB?
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Former Erie Dem. Chair Steve Pigeon
Former Erie Republican Chair Bob Davis
Lenihan is stepping down after a decade as chairman, with at least four candidates expressing interest in the postilion.
Republican Chairman Langworthy says he will run for re-election to his third term, and he does not anticipate any challengers, but insiders tell WBEN's Dave Debo that various groups have approached Mitchell Martin, an aide to Senator Gallivan about a possible run.
Martin tells WBEN it's too early to comment right now and several observers think that any informal opposition to Langworthy is trumped by the fact that no challenger is organized or committed enough to take on the the job, even with rumblings and whisperings of dissatisfaction with Langworthy.
On the Democratic side, while there have been reports that former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello is inquiring about his support as a possible Democratic leader, but county executive Mark Poloncarz is expected to advance Jeremy Zellner as candidate of his own. In the past, most notably under former Democratic county executive Dennis Gorski, the executive's choice, as titular head of the party, is given much sway with the rank and file voters. Masiello's candidacy is being advanced subtly by Charlie King, Executive director of the State Democratic Party and an ally of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Behind the scenes experts say this who's in-who's out- parlor game could change after the primary. That's when new committee people are picked, and the fate of any individual chairman candidate rises or falls depending on whether their elected official - and even more imnportantly supporters on the party's committee-- win.