Diane Benczkowski won the Cheektowaga Democratic party primary for town supervisor — guaranteeing her the office — and is already being talked about as a contender for the State Senate seat currently held by Tim Kennedy. Benczkowski’s down to earth charm and gracious style are threatening political assets to Kennedy, who has been seen at times as clumsy and awkward.
If she decides to run, political operatives say it would be an epic primary. Presumably, the Irish vote in South Buffalo will back Kennedy; the Polish vote in Cheektowaga and Lovejoy will back Benczkowski; and the African American community will coalesce behind the well respected County Legislator Betty Jean Grant.
In a three way toss up, the contest becomes all about turnout — putting three of the region’s most formidable political machines in an assuredly heated contest for a valuable Senate seat. Grant nearly defeated Kennedy four years ago, despite being massively outspent.
The demographic make up of the district would favor a Grant win, while allowing Benczkowski an opportunity to elevate her profile as a political contender in a off-year during her term as Supervisor. Both Benczkowski and Grant are aligned with party headquarters. Kennedy is not.