Under the leadership of Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, it has become common practice for the party to avoid fielding candidates in the City of Buffalo. The thinking is, that if there are no general election contests in city races, the GOP’s countywide candidates would be more viable because turnout would be lower among urban Democrats.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz will be up for reelection next November, and Republicans have not settled on a challenger. Some operatives want the Republicans to nominate Democrat Sean Bunny, a prosecutor and military veteran from East Aurora, to challenge Poloncarz on the Republican line. Mickey Kearns won the County Clerk’s Office with that strategy.
It’s thought that Bunny feels burned by the way he was treated by Democrat headquarters during the short-lived primary in the 27th congressional district last year. Bunny was pushed aside by party bosses for Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray.
If he were to nominate a Democrat countywide, Langworthy could be willing to test the same strategy with a slate of candidates for Common Council. Rather than suppressing the opposition vote, the party strategy could actively vie for it.
There nine seats on Buffalo’s Common Council — and all are held by Democrats.
The Council district where Republicans may be able to mobilize their members in large enough numbers to be successful is the Delaware District. Some believe a candidate could be viable in the South District. The last Republican to serve on the Council is the current Parking Commissioner, Kevin Helfer, who represented the University District.
Langworthy lives in the district and could be best positioned from a fundraising perspective. As the opposition leader of on the Council, his could be an influential voice in the public discourse, even with a limited ability to advance legislation.
Others names being mentioned in political circles include Matthew Pelkey, Will MaGavern, Danielle Paladino, Holly Levy, Jill Roland, Jim Ostrowski, and Maria Grisanti.