Rumor around town is that the three major party bosses who control Western New York recently met, and they conspired to thwart your democracy. Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, Democrat Chairman Jeremy Zellner, and Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo are planning to fix the upcoming County Legislature elections, or so the rumor goes.
Kevin Stocker — a prominent and popular Republican who defeated incumbent Mark Grisanti in a landslide primary contest last year — is calling out Langworthy for “throwing Guy Marlette under the bus by not demanding the Conservative endorsement.” Langworthy rolled over for Lorigo, who will be endorsing Marlette’s Democrat opponent, Tom Loughran.
In exchange, the Democrats will not field a competitive candidate against the younger Lorigo, whose West Seneca and East Aurora district is thought to be competitive. The conspiracy, if true, denies voters an opportunity to either accept or reject the young man for a second term, on his own merits.
Lorigo has long been one of the region’s most transactional political figures. One former office holder, who asked not to be named, says that the line “costs $5,000, or best offer.”
The younger Lorigo, Joe, is a freshman County Legislator who was a registered Democrat, turned Republican, turned Conservative who owes his election to his father’s social network, say political observers.
“With party bosses conspiring to fix the outcomes of our elections, in such transactional bartering, the public is defrauded of honest elections,” says another local Republican.
Langworthy, apparently, didn’t have a problem with the arrangement.
Democrat sources close to Zellner say that a deal was cut with Langworthy to decline to field a competitive candidate for County Executive. In exchange, Democrats would stand down any serious effort to retake the County Legislature.
Stocker has good reason to stick up for ordinary members of the Republican party who have been trying to retake the party from the establishment.
After soundly defeating Mark Grisanti in the Republican primary last year, Stocker was expected to win the Senate seat. He was leading in all the polls. But Stocker came in second place in the general election — because Lorigo conspired with renowned Democrat operative Steve Pigeon to place Tim Gallagher on the Conservative party line.
Gallagher’s candidacy was non-existant until the week before the primary when ads began to flood local radio — or at least WBEN — for a faux candidacy that was designed to siphon votes from Stocker.
The result is that the Conservative Party Chairman is responsible for ensuring the election of Marc Panepinto to the State Senate. Panepinto is a union organizing leftist who supports late term abortion and is owned by the Albany teachers’ unions. He committed election fraud in 2001 and 2005. His license to practice law was suspended in 2001 as part of his guilty plea.
Will Conservative Party members decide that they have had enough of Lorigo as their Chairman? Observers surmise that “tea party types despise such self-dealing,” and note that “Lorigo certainly has his detractors on the party committee.”
“I am calling on Langworthy to endorse a real Republican and fight for his candidates. I call for Poloncarz and Zellner to endorse a real Democrat to run for the county legislature and honor their voters with an honest election based upon choice. This is another example where the voters can not trust the party bosses and their corruption,” says Stocker.