Senator Patrick Gallivan, who was elected in 2010 after retiring as Erie County Sheriff, has been talking for years about a run for Congress. After Chris Collins defeated Kathy Hochul for the seat that he would have run for otherwise, he shifted his attention to the County Executive’s office, which is up for reelection next year.
But suddenly, in the last month, he has backed off considerably from those ambitions — something that is uncommon among ambitious politicos.
Gallivan has found himself in the cross hairs of US Attorney Preet Bharra, who earlier this summer took possession of documents from the now defunct Moreland Commission, after it was revealed to be a political farce of the Cuomo Administration.
Gallivan was caught using campaign contributions for personal uses, which is illegal under state and federal law. Gallivan used his campaign contributions so brazenly, I’m told, that there are cash withdrawals at Casinos and in Florida (which is an expense that is hard to justify when one is running in New York). He even used his campaign account for tanning expenses, I’m told.
It’s unclear whether the US Attorney plans to indict Gallivan before he is up for reelection on November 4th, less than three weeks away. If an indictment does come before then, his chances at reelection — even in a rural and conservative district — are unlikely.
This has created an opening for County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, who is now posturing for a run for County Executive. I’m told that County Clerk Chris Jacobs, a more senior office holder, has passed on the opportunity, presumably clearing the way for a Mychajliw campaign with united GOP backing. They say Jacobs is more interested in Brian Higgins’ congressional seat in two years.
The incumbent County Executive Mark Poloncarz could see a primary challenge from the popular Assmeblyman Micheal Kearns.