Erie County Democratic Chair Field Shrinks
The field of candidates vying to replace outgoing Erie County Chairman Len Lenihan just keeps getting smaller.
Two weeks after former Buffalo Mayor Tony Masiello removed his name from consideration, James J. Eagan, executive vice president of Midwood Financial Services and a fundraiser for Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, also bowed out of the race, saying he continues to support the party, but wants to concentrate his efforts elsewhere.
“As a Democrat who believes strongly in our local organization, it has been a pleasure to meet with members of the Erie County Democratic Committee and to discuss the future direction of the Party,” Eagan said in a prepared statement released this afternoon.
“However, I am also deeply committed to other community activities and have decided to concentrate my efforts on the betterment of our region in my capacities as a board member of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and the SPCA serving Erie County, as well as other community endeavors.”
“I am pleased that my candidacy has helped highlight issues within our party that the next leader will now address and I look forward to being of service, as I have long been committed to, for Erie County Democrats. I withdraw my name as a candidate for chairman with thanks to the members of the committee. Their support and friendship is very much appreciated.”
The timing of this is rather odd.
On Tuesday – in other words, three days ago – Eagan invited approximately 2,000 Democratic committee members to a reception at Statler City from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., saying he wanted to reach out to the party’s base in hopes of winning their support for his chairmanship bid.
The Buffalo News reported this week that Poloncarz struck a deal with the Cuomo administration (through LG Bob Duffy) that neither side would endorse a favorite in the chairmanship fight, setting up a free-for-all with no clear frontrunner.
According to the BN, Poloncarz was widely believed to support Jeremy Zellner, the County Legislature chief of staff, while the Cuomo camp preferred Frank Max Jr., the Cheektowaga chairman, after its first choice, Masiello, was no longer in the running.
Lenihan, whose made no secret of the fact that his departure was influenced by the governor’s desire to see someone else at the helm of the Erie County operation, will preside over election of the new leader in a morning meeting at the Hearthstone Manor in Depew on Sept. 29.
Also in the running is Marc Panepinto, who has ties to Democrats close to former Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, now a Cuomo administration official.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on September 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm, and is filed under Democrats, Upstate NY. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|