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Flaherty Gets Strong Support from DA's Office at Fundraiser

Flaherty Gets Strong Support From DA's Office At Fundraiser

Assistant District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr.’s campaign to become Erie County’s top prosecutor is off to a flying start based on the strong turnout for his initial fundraiser Oct. 14 at the Buffalo Chophouse. More than 150 attendees were on hand to show their support and help raise more than $80,000 for the Flaherty team.

“About 40 percent of the money raised came from the [DA’s] office,” said James Eagan, chairman of Flaherty’s campaign who also happens to be secretary to the New York State Democratic Committee. Eagan was joined at the fundraiser by Rich Horner, a member of the state committee who is assigned to Western New York full time.

Eagan and Horner’s presence would appear to signal strong party support for Flaherty who is expected to take over as interim district attorney from his boss, District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, after Sedita takes office in January as a State Supreme Court justice.

The office won’t be on the ballot for a full term until next year, and it remains to be seen if Gov. Andrew Cuomo will name an interim DA or let the process play out with Flaherty, Sedita’s long-time first assistant, taking over. He could appoint an interim DA, and Erie County Court Judge Tim Franczyk is known to be interested. But the presence of Eagan and Horner at Flaherty’s event seems to be a very positive signal for Flaherty’s bid to fill out Sedita’s term.

Peter Reese, a well-known Democratic lawyer and party activist, said that among the attorneys in attendance at Flaherty’s soiree were Joel Daniels, Herb Greenman, Dan Henry, Jim Ostrowski and his wife Amy, James Milbrand, and Brian Mahoney. In all, about 30 members of the current district attorney’s office were reportedly in attendance, meaning the other 120 people who gave to Flaherty were from outside the office. Tickets were $250, $500, and $1,000.

If Francyzk decides he wants to run for the office, he will have to leave his seat on the bench and throw his hat into the ring against a likely interim incumbent already raising money with more events planned.

“We will be having more fundraisers,” said Eagan, “and he [Flaherty] will be letting people know about his intentions for the office. He has already said as district attorney he will form a public integrity unit.”

The office will be on the ballot next year, a presidential year, giving a strong boost to the Democratic candidate in heavily Democratic Erie County. A Cuomo appointment seems unlikely, meaning voters will ultimately decide who gets the job for a four-year term.

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