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Szalkowski Drops Out, Mychajliw Pitches Fit

Erie County Comptroller candidate Lynn Szalkowski dropped out yesterday, the day petitions were due. Her name appeared on Democratic nominating petitions that have been circulated throughout Erie County for the past several weeks because she was the candidate whom the party had recruited to run. As it turns out, she had second thoughts and effectively dropped out of the race weeks ago. That posed a problem for the party, because the only way to keep the ballot line alive for November would be to keep circulating her petitions and then let a committee replace her when she formally drops out. That’s what’s about to happen in the next week or so.

Just about every news story everywhere has made the point that Ms. Szalkowski has suffered some personal tragedies in recent weeks, and that she may also have some sort of personal health issue. While her Facebook page shows her doing fun things with friends and her kids, that doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t also tackling some sort of health problem. People live with chronic pain and disease all the time yet are still able to go out and maintain some semblance of a normal life – it doesn’t mean they also have the energy or will to go out and attend every chicken BBQ and every fundraiser and every debate as part of a grueling, months-long campaign for a countywide office.

So, when she dropped out yesterday, her putative opponent, incumbent Stefan Mychajliw, took to Facebook to comment on the situation. Before becoming Comptroller, Mychajliw was the owner of a public relations firm. As a public relations professional, I would likely counsel a candidate to take the high road, and leave the backhanded smacks and insults for surrogates.

In other words, Mychajliw’s Facebook post or whatever other public statement he made should have read something like this:

I am disappointed to learn that Ms. Szalkowski has decided not to accept her party’s nomination to run for Erie County Comptroller on the Democratic line. I am proud of my accomplishments over the last several months, and looked forward to a lively campaign on the issues. I wish Ms. Szalkowski and her family well, and look forward to running a positive campaign against whomever the Democrats select as their candidate.

Because, honestly, Mychajliw shouldn’t necessarily care who runs against him, or what the internal Democratic party machinations and intrigue might be. He is running to win in November, and he’ll take all comers, right?

Well, instead of some sort of gracious send-off, Mychajliw inexplicably spat this venom at the Democratic committee:

I don’t quite understand why this makes Mr. Mychajliw so upset, and why he didn’t so much as wish Ms. Szalkowski well, whatever his feelings are about the legal process that results from a candidate dropping out of a race. The party committee recruited Szalkowski, and it will now have to recruit someone else. It’s really six of one, half-dozen of the other, and Mychajliw’s Facebook excreta seems utterly classless to me.

Maybe Mychajliw’s office could trick a custodian into letting them into the locked basement room in the Rath Building where the Democrats keep all the Comptroller candidates.


  • Ridgewaycynic2013

    Bush league, but it’s what I’ve come to expect from either the Republicans or Democrats in Erie County politics the last few years. Little Stefan Glick got one thing right…”only in Erie County, folks”.

  • John (not McCain)

    Has he stamped out the nepotism problem yet?

  • Othersideofthecanal

    Just curious as I don’t have a horse in this race…was the only option available to Dems to continue to circulate petitions for a candidate who was no longer a candidate? I don’t know how long ago she indicated she was out, but could not the Dems have identified another candidate and circulated petitions for that person?

    I appreciate that this could have happen on either side of the political aisle (and probably does more often than I care to think about), but it does make wonder about how fair this is for those who may have signed a petition for Szalkowski because they actually WANTED HER

  • Othersideofthecanal

    Apologies for the typos…Brain to fingers…work, dammit!

  • hwhamlin

    Shorter BuffaloPundit:
    Mychajliw = R = Bad.

  • Andrew Kulyk

    I guess the spin machine coming from ECDems and Polonkarzkaya Pravda has moved on from portraying the Comptroller’s senior staffers as nincompoops worthy of termination, and is now on the latest kick… painting Stefan Mychajliw as some cruel, vicious and insensitive misogynist.

    This entire concept is sheer nonsense. Stefan is one of the most caring, down to earth, regular people. Not even close to the template Spaulding Lake Republican that you love to loathe. I can cite many examples of his kindness and generosity, but none more worthy than his latest project – working with his brother to finance and rebuild the Seneca Babcock Community center in the neighborhood where he grew up and close to where he still lives, in the non-affluent Kaisertown area of the City of Buffalo.

    Should there be anger? Should there be ire? Absolutely! But that anger should not be directed at Stefan, but towards the Democratic Party leadership. Mark Poloncarz shouted from the rooftops for years for the need for a strong and independent Comptrollers office. But as soon as he moves up to 16, the Party recruits a not-ready-for-prime-time sad sack of a person to occupy the office. That individual interviewed so poorly before the ECLeg that the minority members of that body were appalled. The future ECDems County Chair rammed the appointment through, and the Republicans smelled blood. Enter candidate Mychajliw.

    Make no mistake, had the Dems found a suitable financial management professional with some name recognition, and one that would keep a positive and professional yet arms length relationship with the County Exec and the ECLeg, the Mychajliw candidacy never happens. And the Dems retain control of that office. This was just one of the strategic blunders coming out of ECDems headquarters, and of curse there have been many more since.

    Move on to 2013… Stefan Mychajliw hits the ground running in his opening weeks as the new Comptroller, starts cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor, and the public cheers him on. That, combined with his branding as a media personality, scares off possible opponents. Yet the ECDems keep trying, and they come up with Lynn Szalkowski.

    Should Democrats be angry? Absolutely! but not at Mychajliw. This woman has such a serious set of problems and drama in her life it is incredible she is even elected on a school board, let’s not even talk about running countywide. Yet your ECDems chairman does no vetting, no background check, no due diligence. Nice -ski at the end of the name… so dip her hair into blond peroxide, make sure she hits her Seneca bosses for a big fat 100k contribution check payable to ECDems, and parachute her into the Land of the Crabapple, where she ostensibly will sop up huge blocks of votes from the Democratic Popolskus who will absolutely fall in love with her.

    it was a failed strategy then, and it is laughable now.

    Mychajliw is right. Szalkowski had no business being on that petition. When she told everyone on June 3 she wasn’t going to be a candidate, the ECDems should have stricken her name from their county petition and circulated one with their presumptive candidate. Going door to door and presenting Szalkowski as a real live candidate is tantamount to an act of fraud perpetrated by anyone who presented that petition at a door stoop.

    It will be fascinating to see what the spin machine comes up with next. But I will tell you this… the clear and loud message resonating from the public at large is “Right on Stefan”. “Keep it up Stefan you’re doing a great job.” He enjoys the broad support of the voting public who demand and insist on a resolute and independent watchdog to oversee the county’s billion dollar plus budget. Just like the public appreciated Poloncarz’ stewardship when he occupied that same chair. And like it or not, Stefan Mychajliw will be soundly re-elected for a full term come November. And Polish-Democratic Cheektowaga will be leading the way with big Mychajliw numbers you watch.

    Still angry, Democrats? Well, sorry to break the news to you, but you need one more ugly ugly cycle of despair and defeat.. Comptroller, Sheriff, the EC Legislature. In the aftermath of the disaster to come, perhaps it will then be time to take a long hard look in the mirror, recognize what a horrible mistake you made in selecting your County Chair, and in the ashes of that regime’s collapse, put somebody in place to lead us out of the abyss.

    • Am I to believe that if Frank Max had been allowed to hand-pick someone with a CPA, a record of achievement, a nice family and the right surname that you’d support that Democrat against Stefan? Because I don’t think that’s true.

      If you think it’s propaganda to suggest that, whatever Stef thinks of internal Dem politics, he be gracious to Lynn Szalkowski, then I think you both have a lot to learn about common courtesy and just being a kindhearted person.

      Instead, you denigrate her claim of health problems by pointing out that she’s living a fun life with friends and family. Before her surgery, my wife was able to do all sorts of fun things despite having a legitimate cancer scare. To call that cruel is sadly an understatement, especially given Stefan’s claims to good works and piety.

    • Know Saint

      You could at least be more honest and tell everyone you worked on Stefan’s campaign last year, along with Max and the other Judas Democrats in fucked up Cheektowaga.

      Funny how all these Cheektowaga losers are flocking to Republican county candidates, while, at the very same time, they are about face a much-resurgent Republican team in Cheektowaga.

      Oh, but it’s about every ten years now, so time again for turn-over in the leadership of Cheektowaga Dems. At least previous turn-over was NOT due to losses to Republicans, rather pols who lost Dem primary elections. Max and Kulyk so far lost all their town judges to Republican candidates, and one council seat to Republicans, yet county Reps attend their functions and they kiss their bums like they are one of their family.

      It will be interesting to see how many Max and Kulyk defeats happen this year.

  • Michael Raleigh

    I want to run for county comptroller. I hope someone else has been gathering the signatures. . .