The high profile political operative G. Steven Pigeon and his associates recognize their strategic missteps last year. The faction backed Amherst Councilman Mark Manna for Chairman at the last minute. Manna was left without the time, resources, or game plan to take the chairmanship. His lack of name recognition and an “awareness void” among committee members were hurdles too difficult to overcome.
In contrast, two years prior Frank Max earned a majority of committeemen votes, but was thwarted by Dennis Ward’s manipulation of weighted votes, district by district. The corrupt behavior attracted statewide attention, and the state co-chair Stephanie Miner and Andrew Cuomo himself were shocked at Erie County Democrat headquarters’ brazenness.
Pigeon — arguing that the Attorney General’s allegations against him are frivolous — has begun looking beyond the current election cycle. I’m told that Eric Schneiderman, who has never been popular outside of New York City, will factor prominently on Pigeon’s “to-do list.”
Rank and file operatives who are considered potential swing votes on the committee are largely unimpressed with Manna, causing Pigeon to reevaluate his options. Among those being considered as the faction’s figurehead: Camille Brandon, Dawn Sanders-Garrett, Brenda McDuffie, Sheila Meegan, and Alice Mageirski.
I’m told that the Pigeon operatives recognize the need for an image makeover in the aftermath of the Attorney General’s investigation. It is likely they will back a woman for chairman and will begin promoting the candidacy far ahead of the party’s reorganization meeting.