Jacobs battles perception in aftermath of county executive debacle

County Clerk Chris Jacobs is battling perceptions ahead of next year’s election cycle. He stepped out of contention in the county executive’s race last year after intense party infighting with Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and his operatives, causing many to brand Jacobs as “wimpy” and “entitled.”

He has been talked about as a potential contender for Congress next year.

Some even say that he has his eye on the 60th State Senate district, where Marc Panepinto is flawed, weak and unorganized. That prospect remains doubtful — at least at this early hour. Kevin Stocker, a popular anti-party Republican with deep roots in Tonawanda and a strong record as a prosecutor, has endeared himself to voters and defeated incumbent Mark Grisnati in a landslide victory.

In a match up of Jacobs versus Stocker in a GOP primary, it’s likely that Stocker wins — especially if the perceptions of wimpy and entitled prevail. Stocker has not decided to run again. He wants to, but his wife still needs convincing. He has spent a few hundred thousand dollars of his own money in recent years.

“Jacobs is exceedingly risk averse, which causes people to ask, ‘why are you even running,'” says one Republican operative who asked not to be named. “People want their politicians to have convictions — not election fraud convictions like Panepinto has, but political convictions in the way that Thatcher and Reagan had.”

“Even if you are a moderate — especially if you are a moderate — be righteous about it,” he said. “People should run for office because history demands something of them, and because they have an answer to solve long entrenched problems. That’s what rallies people.”

The same operative says that, if voters perceive you as being motivated by narcissism, notions of self grandeur, or feelings of entitlement — then one’s candidacy becomes a difficult sell. Jacobs hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but he needs to be more proactive about countering those emerging perceptions, he concludes.

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