Zellner shifts focus beyond local races in anticipation of Hochul’s gubernatorial bid

Erie County Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner is said to have shifted his focus beyond local races — just weeks after his endorsed candidates for Erie County Sheriff and Mayor of Buffalo were both soundly rejected at the primary ballot box — and is now hurriedly building a Buffalo-based political operation that is intended to elect Kathy Hochul as the next Governor of New York.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is widely expected to retire from elected politics at the end of his current term, and Hochul is positioned to inherit the political machine that is the incumbent administration.

Sources say that Zellner is making preparations to locate a 100-desk call center near his Larkinville headquarters.  That facility will serve as a “communications and polling hub” and local political operatives expect him to conduct in-depth polling and voter profiling seven days a week — which could begin as soon as September.  He is being encouraged to collaborate with Dr. Russell Weaver, a well-respected demographer and data scientist, to lead that facility.

“Zellner wants to be State Chairman and if Hochul is elected Governor he is a likely appointment.  That he’s scaling up ECDC’s operation sends the message that he wants to play a decisive role in her election victory.  But his motivations are longer-term than that.  He wants to build an enduring full-time operation that allows him to actively manage the party from Buffalo,” one source explains.

Zellner wants to invite the Chairmen of every county’s party organization to Buffalo for monthly party leadership meetings.  He is in talks with local carpenters to construct a massive board room conference table capable of accomodating those meetings.  There are 62 counties in New York.

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