This year’s County Legislature races are likely to impact Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy‘s ambitions on the State Chairmanship. A decisive takeover of the Legislature — perhaps coupled with electing a new County Executive — would give Langworthy the momentum of a compelling narrative, likely making him the leading contender to
New changes in the State election calendar has Langworthy scrambling to find a full slate of candidates — especially with petitioning rescheduled to a frigid March.
District Three — Kenmore and North Buffalo
The incumbent, Peter Savage III, is a popular and cautious figure. His most significant political vulnerability is his exceedingly close alignment with party headquarters. The district is heavily Democrat-enrolled. It’s been rumoured that Langworthy may recruit a centrist Democrat with strong crossover appeal to run for the seat, perhaps Maria Grisanti or Kevin Stocker.
District Four — Grand Island and Tonawanda
The incumbent, Kevin Hardwick, recently defected from the Republican party to become a Democrat. He has been working closely with County Executive Mark Poloncarz, but it’s been rumoured that Hardwick may retire ahead of the election. Poloncarz has offered Hardwick assurances that he will have the Democratic Party’s backing, but left-wing activists are likely to field a challenger — whether or not they get support from party headquarters. Democrats being floated for the seat include Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray and Tonawanda City Council President Jenna Koch. On the Republican side, Grand Island Councilman Mike Madigan is being encouraged to consider the race.
District Five — West Amherst
While district five has been a longtime target of Langworthy, longtime Legislator Tom Loughran has been particularly independent of headquarters in recent years — angering Democrat Chairman Jeremy Zellner. Zellner has been trying to recruit a Democrat primary challenger — perhaps former Assembly candidate Steve Meyer — and plans to fundraise aggressively to remove Loughran. Under those circumstances, Langworthy is more likely to either recruit Loughran to the Republican caucus, or to stand down a general election challenger.
District 7 – Cheektowaga and South Buffalo
It’s been widely rumored that South Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino is considering the race, in which case political operatives expect a landslide win over Tim Meyers, who was newly appointed to fill the vacancy created by Patrick Burke‘s election to the Assembly.
District 8 – Lancaster and Alden
Freshman Legislator John Bruso was not expected to win his seat two years ago. His district is one of the most Republican friendly in the county, which could attract a high quality challenger, like the attorney Todd Aldinger.