by Andrew Kulyk - posted 9:25 am, June 13, 2013
In this week’s print edition of Artvoice, editor Geoff Kelly summarizes the machinations which have unfolded in Cheektowaga regarding an endorsement vote for County Legislature in LD-7. Rick Zydel, who has served as Cheektowaga Councilman and is enormously popular amongst fire companies, veterans groups, and has the robust backing of most of the rank and file committeemen, not to mention the endorsement of the Conservative Party and Working Families Party, is the hands on favorite to succeed retiring legislator Tom Mazur.
Says Kelly,“Instead of preserving party resources to battle Republicans in the general election in other districts, Zellner is running Lynn Dearmyer in the primary against Zydel. Dearmyer has run for Legislature before, in 2009, and lost; Zydel is a proven election winner. Both are Democrats.”
So what happens? Petition packets arrive in committeeman’s doors; downtown hand picks a candidate with absolutely no vetting, no consultation with the local chairs, no vote of the committee people. What is the new normal, that now seems to be the Democratic process.
But Cheektowaga is not the only district where these things are going on. Over in LD-8, which comprises the Towns of Lancaster and Alden, and the Depew and Southline portions of Cheektowaga, incumbent legislator Terry McCracken has opted not to seek a new term. Which is a good thing, since his dispassion for the job, his oft absences, and holder of multiple patronage positions within his family would have made him easy fodder for Republican opponent Ted Morton (and with that loss would presumably go Democratic control of the County Legislature, which is teetering with a slim 6-5 majority).
Enter Wes Moore, who is the dream candidate straight out of central casting. Well groomed and good looking, an accomplished financial planner and banking executive, an investor in the district with a new sports park currently in the planning stages, engaged in the community via his young son’s involvement in youth sports, and very popular amongst his committeemen out in Lancaster. In the old normal, such a candidate would be revered and welcomed as someone who could keep the district, and probably control of the legislature, in Democratic hands.
So what does downtown do? No endorsement meeting, no consultation with the local chairs, no vote of the committee people. Petition packets are mailed out, and the hand picked candidate is… who?
Fisher is the town chair out in Alden, not even an active candidate, but her name appears on petitions simply for the purpose of disrupting the momentum of candidate Moore, until such time as downtown can find a real candidate, and place his/her name on the ballot via the substitution process with the Committee on Vacancies. The people who carry the petitions, the local leaders, and anyone else who matters out there is seeing through this sham and having no part of it. As for the Republican, Ted Morton? He must be getting a good laugh out of this. His worst nightmare is facing Moore in a November showdown. Anything to derail Moore’s candidacy is a good thing at this stage.
Over in LD-10, a sprawling district which comprises West Seneca and a bunch of rural towns eastward and southward, incumbent Legislator Joe Lorigo, a Conservative who caucuses with the Republicans, has performed the job in an exemplary fashion in his freshman term. Beating him and placing the district back in Democratic hands would be a heavy lift. So what does downtown do? Again, no vetting of candidates, no consultation with the local chairs, no endorsement vote. Petition packets are mailed out, containing one for a Lauren Gray for legislature. She is the daughter of an employee at the Board of Election, working for Commissioner Dennis Ward, and it is possible that she doesn’t even live in the district, instead living in the City of Buffalo.
Town of Wales Democratic Chair Mary Julian, whose town is a part of LD-10, had seen enough, and sent this blistering email to ECDems Chair Jeremy Zellner yesterday..
In regard to the petitions you tried to pass on to the committee people in this town other than myself:
Town of Wales Endorsed Dick Dobson for Erie County Sheriff ,as did many others. We do not believe that buying an endorsement is Democratic. We also do not believe that Bert Dunn carries democratic values ,especially after his text message scandal. Not liking Obama or our Governor and admiring Reagan is a disgrace to this party beliefs and we want anything to do with that.
Bert has gone up to many people and commented to them that his endorsement by you was a done deal before the interviews. He also said that the interviews wqre just a formality. His father has gone up to chair people and asked bluntly ‘ how much does it cost to endorse my son’. Bert has also gone up to many people telling them that Dick is too old — exact words Jeremy. Age discrimination is against Democratic values. Might I remind you of your devoted support of Louise Slaughter and our Vice President?? How about Hillary Clinton who intends to run for President of the United States? Do you intend not to support her because of her age?
We are not supporting that girl you threw on the petitions for Erie County Legislator. I got calls from my committee people asking who she was after receiving your packets. I told them I have no clue who she is as she has never reached out to me. No one called us , had a meeting , sent a letter or emailed us regarding this girl. Candidate 101- reach out to the chairs and talk to them about your candidacy and ask them for support. My committee people decided that if she finds no value in reaching out to us then we find no value in supporting her.
We will not pass petitions for Lynn Szalkowski because she is not running for comptroller and she is on the petition with Bert who we are not supporting. If Lynn is running then she needs to meet with me and my committee people and convince us that she indeed intends to run a full blown campaign.
The Town of Wales Democratic committee has endorsed Barbara Howe, Paul Crapsi and Mary Carney – three fine choices for the positions they are running for. All of them took the time to reach out to us on more than one occasion.
to add to this I did try to reach out to you regarding my town candidate. I got no return calls and no return emails. I reached out to the other girl who used to run your office and to the guy who does it now and left messages from whoever answered the phone as well as voice mails. Due to needing petitions I found reputable people to help me out.
While we are not in need of the petitions, I do thank you for the walking sheets. They will come in handy while we pass our petitions out for our endorsed candidates.
The local Democratic chairs in LD-10 have countered by circulating petitions for Bob Hauger, who upon information and belief actually does live in the 10th district. No matter. Look for Lorigo to win this one going away.
So there you have it. This is the state of affairs in Erie County Democratic land today… a candidate for Sheriff who brings little to the table beyond the ability to self fund, a Comptroller candidate who thankfully for her will shortly withdraw for “health reasons”, and spare herself and her family the public scrutiny of the sadness and drama going on in her household, a County Legislature on the brink of ceding control away from the Democrats.
Bile. Hatred. Retribution. It is the core belief that guides policy, planning and campaign execution from ECDems headquarters. What a great time this must be to be a Republican in Erie County!