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State primary stirs little enthusiasm; Romney's lead will cut turnout

What if they threw a primary and nobody came?

That's the question New York Republicans are asking today for the presidential primary that qualifies for the "who cares?" category after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has all but wrapped up the GOP nomination.

"There certainly is the expectation that people might not come out," Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy said Monday. "Save for Newt Gingrich visiting here on Friday, people are now focused on the general election."

Just a few weeks ago, when presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were showing real signs of dethroning the front-running Romney, today's New York primary loomed as a potential major event this election year. But as they cooled and Romney surged, New York has resumed the typical also-ran status its late date on the calendar has dictated for years.

The only question to be decided in today's contest is whether Gingrich, Santorum or Rep. Ron Paul will win any delegates, as Gingrich predicted he would during his Friday rally in Ellicott Square.

Langworthy said Monday even that may not materialize for the former speaker of the House.

"I don't suspect he's going to have that big an operation working for him," the chairman said. "And there is no media or anything else to draw people to the polls.

"There certainly won't be any records set in turnout," he added.

All regular polling places in Erie County are open, according to the Board of Elections. Polls will be open in Erie County from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from noon to 9 p.m. in all other upstate counties.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com