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Odds and Ends

A week after the 2011 election, next year’s political season is already heating up. But we’ll get into that in future issues. In the meantime…

• We’re told that Chris Grant, the chief of staff to outgoing Erie County Executive Chris Collins, has a new job lined up: He’ll be a deputy commissioner at the Erie County Board of Elections, serving under the Republican commissioner, Ralph Mohr.

• Last week, we noted that Republican Chris Jacobs received more votes in his race for the vacant county clerk seat than Republican incumbent Chris Collins received in the top-of-the-ticket race for county executive. A closer look at the unofficial results reveals some other interesting comparisons. Jacobs was the only Republican to out perform a Democratic opponent in the Town of Tonawanda: He took 9,899 votes to Maria Whyte’s 9,042. That, too, tops Collins’s 9,547 votes in the dominantly Democratic town.

• Last week, Mark Poloncarz beat Collins by a huge margin in Buffalo (29,294 to 8,047) and by large margins in Lackawanna and Cheektowaga, and by closer margins in a few other places: Evans, West Seneca, the Town of Tonawanda. Collins won everywhere else, which is hardly surprising. It bears notting, however, how many votes Collins lost in his strongholds in 2011 compared to 2007. In 2007, he gut 7,294 votes in his hometwon of Clarence; last week he got 6,629. In 2007, he got 24,609 votes in Amherst; last week, he got just 16,913, while Poloncarz pulled in 14,108. Compare that to 2007’s Democrat, Jim Keane, who got 9,010 votes in Amherst that year.

There were about 4,000 fewer votes cast for ciounty executive this year compared to 2007, and countywide turnout was lower this year than four years ago, but in many towns and villages—Lancaster and Boston, for example—turnout was about the same as it was in 2007, but voters migrated away from the Republican Collins.

• We’re told that Len Lenihan, chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, met earlier this week with the incoming Democratic caucus in the Erie County Legislature, which will hold a six to five advantage over Republicans. He encouraged them to avoid the fissures of the sort that sent three Democrats into alliance with Republican legislators the last two years. He also asked them to hold off on circulating petitions for chairmanship of the Legislature, at least for now, which suggests that Lenihan intends to exercise a role in determining who the chair will be—and that perhaps he’s nowhere near to giving up his own post, despite the clear desire of state Democratic Party officials that he should go, per the terms of the peace settlement they tired to negotiate between feuding local Democrats earlier this year.

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