Party faithful want Zellner out as County Democrat Chairman

Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner is taking heat for several failed races this election cycle.  Many activists are calling the young chairman ‘ineffective’ and insisting that he step aside, for the good of the party. Zellner was first appointed for his subservient relationship to Len Lenihan, the former chairman and current Board of Elections Commissioner, and has been resisting calls for his resignation.

His critics point to the 27th congressional district where Nate McMurray lost to the indicted Chris Collins; the 60th state senate district where Carima El-Behairy lost to Chris Jacobs in an overwhelmingly Democrat-enrolled district; and Angela Marinucci lost to Mickey Kearns for county clerk.

Scores of past Democrat candidates for public office have complained that Zellner’s organization isn’t postured to support candidates, lacks fundraising prowess, and doesn’t make strategic calculations beyond immediate patronage considerations.  Many of the party’s foot soldiers say that Zellner runs the party with “intimidation, vengeance, and bile.”

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Jennifer Stergion, a University at Buffalo Law School professor and former candidate for Attorney General, is chief among those being floated to replace Zellner.  Stergion is widely seen as an incisive policy wonk with a (strategically valuable) charisma and presence that the current chairman lacks.  Her supporters argue that she is tough enough to manage the party’s patronage considerations while also rebranding it around mobilizing policy objectives.

Dan Ward, the longtime Town of Amherst elected official; Betty Jean Grant, the former chairwoman of the county legislature; and Diane Benczkowski, the Town of Cheektowaga Supervisor; have also been named as potential county chairmen.


  1. Jeremy was just unanimously re-elected chair of the Erie County Dem Committee for the next 2 years, & 2 of the 3 races you mentioned are not over yet.

    No one is without areas needing improvement, but Jeremy has expanded the party exponentially since the 2016 election. He ran a countywide slate of female candidates this year, & supported many first time candidates. He has encouraged involvement by those not typically considered part of the establishment, & he has an incredibly difficult job. Maybe those angling to replace him should instead be helping the party succeed.

    Also, a Republican should never be considered as a potential chair of the Erie County Dem Committee.

    • Just when you would think that this website could not get any more bizarre, we see an article like this.

      How can you expect any credibility from this site when you post nonsense like this? Almost daily we see strange and truly unbelievable postings that make people think these are just made up in order to amuse, but, at the end of the day, these articles make The Buffalo Chronicle look foolish.

      I’ve been around politics in the area for decades and know 100% that Zellner is an open, accessible, and he is a very friendly chairman – and he works at it. He’s been everywhere this year!

      When you post something negative about anyone, you have to at least have a bit of truth if you expect to be believed. Of late, this site has posted more unbelievable items than the National Enquirer.

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