8 Jun

I have heard from several sources tonight that our long nightmare of Democratic factionalism is over.

I’ll expound later, but the deal appears to be sealed. Len Lenihan will resign as Chairman of the Democratic Party.  Sources say he will be replaced by John Crangle – Joe’s nephew, current Town Committee Chair in Tonawanda, who works for the Clerk’s office.

All of the various factions in Erie County have bought into this global settlement of all outstanding grievances. The Democratic Party, therefore, moves into the 2011 campaign season as a united front against Chris Collins and the Republicans.

This, folks, is huge.

UPDATE: The official word just came in:

Lenihan to Retire as Democratic Chairman

Erie County Democratic Chairman to Accept Senior State Democratic Committee Role

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan today announced that he is retiring as County Chairman in late July and will accept a senior position with the New York State Democratic Committee.

State Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs announced today that winning the seven major county executive races this November is a top priority for the state party and that Lenihan has agreed to lead the state effort. “Coming off the incredible upset victory in the 26th Congressional special election, I can think of no one better for this important task,” said Jacobs.

“The state party is grateful to have him sprinkle the Lenihan magic around the state, and he will leave behind an Erie County Democratic Committee that is stronger than ever before” said Charlie King, Executive Director of the New York State Democratic Committee.

There are major county executive races this fall in Suffolk, Erie, Monroe, Broome, Dutchess, Ulster and Albany Counties which Lenihan will be involved in.

Lenihan, who was first elected Democratic Chairman in September 2002, said, “The Erie County Democratic Committee has accomplished so much in the past 9 years.  Serving our community and our party each and every day has been a privilege.  I have had the honor of working with some of the greatest community activists in the country, right here in Erie County.  Just last month we showed the world what we can do when we elected Kathy Hochul to Congress.”

Under Lenihan’s tenure as Chairman, 3 Democratic Members of Congress have been elected in WNY, 11 out of the last 13 State Supreme Court Justices have been elected as Democrats, Mark Poloncarz was elected and reelected as the first Democratic County Comptroller in over 30 years, and the first ever super-majority of Democratic Legislators were elected.

Lenihan said “Timing is everything and leadership requires us to make tough choices.  After consulting with my family and close friends, I have decided that now is the right time to hand over the reins of the County Committee to new leadership and to focus my efforts on this exciting new challenge. I will guide our Democratic Committee through the petitioning process and in late July 2011 I will retire as Chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee.”

Lenihan concluded, “I look forward in my new State Party role to helping Mark Poloncarz defeat Chris Collins in the fall and assisting our Party and community.”

Prior to becoming County Chairman in 2002, Lenihan served as Erie County Personnel Commissioner and, before that, as an Erie County legislator and Chairman of the Legislature.  His 9 year tenure makes him the longest serving Erie County Democratic Chairman since Joe Crangle left in 1988.



  1. RaChaCha at 10:16 pm #

    Will believe it if and when I see the Mayor at Sam Hoyt’s clambake this month!

  2. Mr.F.N.Magoo at 10:18 pm #

    Really. Who gives a fuck? This moves which real issues how far or where?

  3. RaChaCha at 10:20 pm #

    Seriously — if true, HUGE. Also huge scoop!

  4. King Kong at 10:51 pm #

    For WNY Democrats, our long nightmare appears to be over.

  5. This Guy at 1:29 am #

    Unfortunately for Buffalo Pundit readers, the long nightmare of stupid comments from King Kong will continue.

  6. Brian at 5:45 am #

    The one guy not cutting deals with Republicans is leaving and this is a good thing how?

    • Alan Bedenko at 6:39 am #

      Because we’re going to get rid of Collins, and we’re going to keep the Clerk’s office, and everyone’s going to stop backstabbing and getting all up in everyone’s shit. If it works out, it’ll be fantastic.

  7. Brian at 6:54 am #

    …and if it doesn’t, it’s a train wreck of epic proportions.
    We haven’t gotten rid of Collins yet. Dems will still have to win the Clerk’s seat, and that may be an uphill battle depending on the Republican nominee. This kumbaya celebration where we think Democrats will sweep because everyone doesn’t have a knife to everyone else’s throat is very premature. 

  8. buffaloobserver at 7:20 am #

    I just knew something was up when on the night of Kathy Hochul’s historic win,Mayor Brown was on stage and Chairman Lenihan made it a point to introduce him to the crowd. In recent years Brown wouldn’t have been invited on stage or even consider coming to a Headqaurters event for that matter.By nature,Democrats are never in complete unison but this is certainly a postive step and bodes well for Mark Polancarz. Johnny Crangle is definitely capable to hold this together and with the recent ineptitude displayed by the local Republicans, King Coliins’ reign may be over.

  9. Tom Dolina at 7:58 am #

    Observer of Buffalo: I also read in Artvoice that Antoine Thompson was denied entry on the stage. Hee hee!

  10. King Kong at 8:06 am #

    This Guy – An anonymous blog commenter throwing potshots at another anonymous blog commenter. Awww, aren’t you a brave little soldier?

  11. LewZer at 9:14 am #

    How did such a big nerd head this party for sooooo long??? He can barely form sentences and spits and drools all over himself. The State party can have him. The liberal Dem socialists are going to lose everything in 2012 anyway.

  12. Tonawanda Resident at 9:25 am #

    What is unfortunate is that John Crangle has done NOTHING but fracture the Tonawanda Democratic Committee. A bad choice for the Erie County Democratic Committee.

  13. joe schmidbauer at 9:37 am #

    Alan, if you believe this standard hype- I got a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. The only thing that has changed has been the increased political fragmentation of the inner city. Brown is running from Grassroots and company. The is no way to delivery the vote. Mark’s campaign has a real problem with a potential suppressed vote in Buffalo.

    Something Len and Erie County demo’s have a very hard time delivering with or without Brown. Basically, there isn’t enough candy to around- and Buffalo and inner city are last in line for the goodies. And what could make things worse for Mark and friends is if a third party- candidate decides to run from the left- and get 3-5 percent of the vote. A very interesting project- in some folks eyes. Any third party that runs a candidate in the general election in Buffalo is instantly the second oppositional party against the democratic hegemony in Buffalo- especial if they represent the disfranchised elements of the Buffalo Community.
    There the illusion of peace in the kingdom but the conditions that created the chaos in the demos remain.

    joe schmidbauer

  14. RaChaCha at 9:41 am #

    BTW, students of history will observe that all peace treaties are known by some name (Peace of Paris, Treaty of Ghent, Jay Treaty, Dayton Accords, Oslo, Molotov-Ribbentrop, etc.). Any name for this one, yet–?

    BTW, unlike Mr. Zer, I like Len a lot, and think he’s been quietly effective under circumstances that would challenge a saint. I like that this agreement — and the way it’s been touted — are something of an apotheosis for him.

  15. Brian Castner at 9:56 am #

    Excited to see what great public policy comes out of a Dem sweep of Erie County – the monopoly in Buffalo has done such great things for the city the last half century.

    • Christopher Smith at 1:19 pm #

      But for the Dennis Gorski years, the Erie County Executive has been Republican since the job was created. The Republican track record in this area is shit.

  16. Chris Charvella at 9:57 am #

    The folks who rushed in here to scream about why this won’t work are the reason we can’t have nice things.

    Chairman Lenihan always treated us folks from neighboring counties with respect and he went out of his way to help us out. It will be nice to have a friendly voice in the state party and I wish him well.

  17. BuffaloGirl at 12:17 pm #

    Does that mean they’re going to replace the Executive Director too?

  18. Black Rock Lifer at 12:35 pm #

    Brian- I know you are smart enough to know the City of Buffalo’s problems have little to do with which party is in power and everything to do with concentrated poverty, loss of industrial base, and middle class flight. Throw in some good old fashioned racism, suburban centric government policies, and a blame the city first mentality and it is quite clear how we got to this point.

  19. newwayofthinking at 1:42 pm #

    Sit back & look this all over. EVERYBODY will be getting some goodies out of this. Sam Hoyt will leave his position since he sold Lenny out and will be rewarded with a big Cuomo-job. Maria Whyte will get County Clerk as part of Sam’s thirty-pieces-of-silver deal. She’ll never make it through the general election tho with her liberal leaning agenda (even if it is only the Clerk’s job). Higgins and his crew will eventually take over Dem HQ, and you can’t rule out Jack O’Donnell who gets along swell with the Higgins/Brown gang. Byron may also end up with a big paying state job that will allow him to stay in Buffalo. He turned down the previously offered Commissioner Cuomo-job because he didn’t want to work in Albany. Power Authority maybe? The former Exec. Director, Jeremy Zellner is out as well. He has a job promised to him.

    Other losers: former Dem Exec. Director Kathy Callan. Shit canned from the NYSDOT she’s been looking for a job. Now she’s out. Other losers will be the members of Len’s Chairman’s Club who regularly donate thousands to the committee to keep their local high paying state jobs. They too will be replaced with folks from the Higgins/Brown camps. John Crangle? No way, no how. He’s a placeholder until petition season is done.

  20. Brian Castner at 2:15 pm #

    @ BRL – I generally agree with your list (though I would note that a “blame the suburbs first” mentality is at least as present), but you correctly identify one of the two hazards of monolithic one party rule. If the decline of Buffalo is the Democrats fault, then they should be voted out of the Mayor’s office and Common Council. If they are not at fault, then they are irrelevant to the fortunes of their city, and are no more deserving of re-election. What the Democratic Party can not do is blame another Party for Buffalo’s decline – there hasn’t been another one in power. Why is this important? Many Democratic partisans are now crowing about their election chances in November, but its worth asking how sweeping an election produces a tangible public policy benefit. Will Erie County as whole improve under purely Democratic leadership? If it doesn’t, does that make the Democrats incompetent or irrelevant?

    @ Chris – Talk to me when the Republicans have held every executive office and massive legislative majorities (if not outright monopolies) at the county level for decades.

    • Christopher Smith at 3:45 pm #

      You mean when they had the state senate for decades, held the governors mansion, the majority of counties legislature, and county executive offices? The meme that Republicans have been kept from power in this state is pervasive and false. They own as much of the FAIL as Democrats do.

  21. Mike In WNY at 2:21 pm #

    Both major parties have a track record comprised of shit. The only differences are subtle at best. This news is only huge for partisan hacks with an agenda and/or a job related to politics.

  22. Brian Castner at 3:58 pm #

    At the statewide level? Sure, there is plenty of FAIL to go around. Are Republican’s as FAILy in Erie County as Dems are in the City of Buffalo? I say no. But whatevs, my point was partisan #winning is much different than constituent #winning.

  23. Black Rock Lifer at 4:05 pm #

    Brian- I don’t think the decline of Buffalo and WNY has much to do with the political parties. The area has suffered from many forces outside the control of politicians or of the general public. There seems to be a mentality of blaming the politicians and even residents of WNY while ignoring the great changes in America that unfortunately did not favor our area. On the other hand, parts of the country that have experienced growth benefited from those changes, it is just not honest to claim it was their superior political leadership. Both parties are too removed from reality to lead, we need a new party from the left to represent the majority of middle class and working people. The Republicans have moved so far to the right they no longer offer a credible argument except to the wealthiest and craziest. The Democrats have moved so far to the center that they no longer offer any real alternative. They also lack the balls to stand up to the bullies and liars that have come to dominate the far right. To answer your question, I think our local politicians have little affect on our economy or fortunes and do not deserve our credit or our scorn.

  24. Brian Castner at 5:12 pm #

    @ BRL – So you choose irrelevent. You are not alone – much of Buffalo feels powerless, like life happens to them, as though our bad luck is just that, and imposed upon us from the outside. Buffalo is on a down streak, its not our fault, and we are on the down side of history. Someday the forces may line up in our favor, but at the end of the day, there is little we can do. And while there may be a nugget of truth there, and I hardly think the mayors of Phoenix and Boulder are the second coming of Jack Kennedy, I can’t help but look around and see other Rust Belt metros are fairing far better. We are now the only metro in New York state losing population – everyone else grew. I just wrote up about Grand Rapids, and in a couple weeks I’ll have another story on Milwaukee, growing out of similar circumstances as ours. We can do better than we are, and our politicians deserve blame for not having the leadership and vision to guide the city, if not towards boomtown, at least toward a more vibrant, livable, prosperous, hip place. Buffalo doesn’t need to be Chicago, but why isn’t it Grand Rapids?

  25. Mike In WNY at 8:45 pm #

    They own as much of the FAIL as Democrats do.

    Chris, that’s what I said.

    • Christopher Smith at 1:39 am #

      Yeah, Mike, but you suck. So, the point needed to be remade.

  26. SamanthaB at 1:13 am #

    How long until Ward is gone too.

  27. Greg at 8:15 am #

    ^ Yes, there are plenty of us who see the picture of that stupid white backwards hat and just skip over that comment. Now if only Ward had an equally dumb picture.

  28. DJ at 8:48 am #

    ^^ Agreed about the hat. At least wear one with the current logo, not the failed slug experiment.

  29. Ann Schumacher at 8:38 am #

    This is truly funny. Higgins, (useless congressman who spent his years, instead of being effective as a congressman, wanting to be party chair, with Pigeon in the background) wants to join Brown’s camp (Brown of course going to jail for racial discrimination and rackateering, another Steve Pigeon person, but Steve and Cuomo will fix that charge) with grassroots hackers (Garner who embezzled all those funds at the health center whose wife at the leg made sure Williams stayed in line…. you can’t make this stuff up) gets the support of Cuomo (who had to work hours to cover for Steve Pigeon and now Brown/HIggins). Get the popcorn ready….can’t wait to see all the fun. Kathy Hochul, beware….be careful who your friends are!

  30. Ann Schumacher at 3:51 pm #

    Just heard a rumor….Brian Higgins wants to be party chair! Imagine what candidates we’ll get. Last time he tried to be party chair with Byron Brown in 2007, they came up with James Keane???? Against Chris Collins??? Wow, good old days of South Buffalo are back….bring on Jimmy Griffin!!!

  31. DJ at 9:07 am #

    According to Joe “the deadbeat dad/felon” Illoser the Dem party is in disarray and going down in flames. I guess that’s what Collins told him to spew to take the heat of the GOP and their craptastic handling of the Corlose campaign?

  32. Ann Schumacher at 3:24 pm #

    Stand corrected on the health center issue and garner. Different person.

  33. Mike Klein at 4:00 pm #

    Yeah, looks like both parties are biting the dust…nothing worse than corwin campaign, that was a disaster…all chris collins’s fault so jane’s husband says….let’s hope the dems stay behind polancarz, he deserves to win.


  1. BREAKING: Sam Hoyt to Cuomo Administration (UPDATED) « WNYMedia.net -

    […] also hearing that this move is part of the same Erie County Democratic peacemaking that led to Len Lenihan’s resignation from his county party chairmanship, and unity more or […]

Contribute To The Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: