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Meanwhile, at Democratic HQ

It can happen only once in a lifetime, and only in Black Rock: North District Councilman Joe Golombek poses for a picture in front of the newly opened Black Rock Kitchen & Bar with outgoing Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, whom he challenged twice in bitter Democratic primaries, narrowly losing each time.

Erie County Democratic Party chairman Len Lenihan, whose name has formerly included the modifier “departing,” maybe isn’t going anywhere after all. Word has been spreading that Lenihan has reconsidered leaving his post for a position overseeing county races statewide. His decision is precipitated by the fast unraveling peace deal between rival Democratic faction in Erie County, brokered by the state party’s executive director, Charlie King. Lenihan’s departure was part of that deal, but other aspects of the deal—Mayor Byron Brown’s support for Maria Whyte’s bid for Erie County Clerk and Mark Poloncarz’s bid for Erie County Executive, for example—have failed to materialize. Then there’s a series of primaries mounted against incumbent members of Common Council by rival factions—exactly the sort of infighting that King’s peace deal was intended to prevent.

Most chaotic of all has been the scramble to succeed Lenihan. That, too, was supposed to have been settled by the three faction who negotiated the deal: Tonawanda party chair John Crangle would slip into Lenihan’s seat. But Cheektowaga chair Frank Max has mounted his own campaign to succeed Lenihan, abetted by town and village chairs and other Democratic operatives who feel they were left out in the cold when the peace deal was negotiated.

So the departing chairman, we’re told, is changing his mind. Lenihan did not respond to a call for comment, but sources tell us he planned to have reached a decision by Wednesday.

Lenihan has a year left on his term as chairman.

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