The names started fluttering in even before Erie County Legislator Mark J.F. Schroeder won an Assembly seat Tuesday.
County Democratic Party Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan says he has a list of seven or eight people interested in taking Schroeder's position representing the County Legislature's 2nd District, which touches South Buffalo, the city's Lovejoy neighborhood and Cheektowaga.
The vacancy will be filled before year's end, when Schroeder departs to occupy the Assembly seat vacated by Democrat Brian Higgins, the apparent winner of a congressional seat.
The political party losing one of its members picks the replacement. That means the Democrats, who now enjoy a slender 8-7 majority, will pick Schroeder's successor, said Legislature Chairman George A. Holt Jr., D-Buffalo.
Lenihan said the newcomer will be expected to run for a two-year term in the 2005 elections.
"We want a strong, qualified candidate," Lenihan said. "A number of names have come forward, and I'm sure there will be more."
Vacancies are an opportunity to launch political careers. Republican Steven P. McCarville of Orchard Park was appointed to a County Legislature vacancy in 2001, then won his own term.
Demone A. Smith, a Buffalo Democrat, was appointed in 2003 to fill the vacancy created when Crystal D. Peoples won an Assembly seat, and he successfully ran for election later that year.