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Republicans eye candidates for Assembly, comptroller

   It's that time of the year when Erie County political leaders start to seriously focus on just who -- and who is not -- in the running for the November election.

   The Erie County GOP, for example, is talking with potential candidates on many fronts, including:

   --The Assembly seat now held by retiring Republican Daniel J. Burling. Party sources indicate that in addition to to declared candidates Kevin Smard, an assemblyman currently based in Hamburg, and David DiPietro, the former East Aurora mayor, others are also expressing interest.  Those include Chris Lane of East Aurora and David Mariacher of Elma are also discussing potential candidacies.

   --For county comptroller, former television newsman Stefan Mychajliw has been exploring a candidacy aganst appointed Democrat David Shenck. But also in the mix for the GOP is Dan Humiston, owner of the Tanning Bed chain, who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Brian Higgins in 2008. 

   Both have long eyed the possibility of running for public office. But Humiston has always appealed to party leaders because of the ability to fund his own campaign.

   Republican officials have so far not encountered a stampede of comptroller candidates because of the daunting prospect of running in heavily Democratic Erie County in a presidential year, when turnout is highest.

   Both parties also have encountered difficulties in recruiting candidates for a countywide post that pays the relatively low salary of $80,615.

--Robert J. McCarthy 

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