When it comes to this year’s race for Erie County Executive, it looks increasingly likely that third-party candidates could have a dominating influence on the discourse — and, perhaps, a determinative impact on the general election’s outcome.
Political operatives speculate that City Preservation Board member Terrence Robinson, a former police officer and Marine Corps veteran, will seek the Green Party nomination.
Similarly, operatives are speculating that the attorney and author Jim Ostrowski may seek the Libertarian Party nomination.
Incumbent Democrat Mark Poloncarz is likely to face a moderate Republican in either County Legislator Lynne Dixon, Senator Chris Jacobs, or Senator Patrick Gallivan. Republicans continue to deliberate on which candidate would present the strongest contrasts with Poloncarz, who is widely seen as an ‘ult-left’ progressive.
Both Ostrowski and Robinson’s candidacies could determine the general election debate.
Ostrowski, a well-known leader of the Libertarian movement, would likely force a discourse on the State’s burdensome unfunded mandates and the resulting property tax burden at the county level. I wouldn’t be surprised if he proposed to eliminate the property tax’s investment penality.
He has long advocated for a privatization plan for the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority that would gift each public housing unit to its current tenant while dissolving the municipal authority, and other Libertarian-oriented policy solutions to local challenges.
Robinson is one of the City’s most prominent advocates of historic preservation and is seen as a leader in the local preservation movement. Were he to enter the race, it would nearly ensure a debate surrounding the efficacy of Countywide land use and zoning — and perhaps even new approaches to hasten the revival of historic structures.
Both policy postures, though coming from different ends of the ideological spectrum, could appeal to the real estate and development interests who fund the large share of local campaigns for public office.