Now that Hamburg Supervisor Jack Quinn has bowed out of the race, the search is on for a Republican candidate for Erie County executive.
State Sen. Dale M. Volker of Depew is a prospective candidate with strong name recognition and a record that would make him a viable contender. While Volker has agreed to consider a campaign for county executive, there's no assurance he will run.
Volker, re-elected last month to an eighth term, is one of the Senate's most respected and influential members. He enjoys the Senate and is regarded by his colleagues as a future majority leader.
Based on past efforts to persuade Volker to run for countywide office, party sources say it's unlikely the senator will be a candidate against County Executive Gorski, a Democrat who's planning to seek a second term.
Quinn, a charismatic and able campaigner who demonstrated an ability to win in Democratic Hamburg, was heavily favored to be the endorsed GOP candidate against Gorski.
But Quinn, citing family considerations, surprised the political community two weeks ago when he announced he would not run for county executive in 1991.
GOP sources said Quinn was concerned by his low name recognition in countywide surveys and the difficulty of raising money. It's estimated that a Republican candidate will require about $500,000 to wage a competitive campaign against Gorski.
Gorski spent about $1 million on his 1987 campaign and already has accumulated close to $500,000 for his race for a second term.
Does this mean that Assemblyman Thomas M. Reynolds, the Erie County Republican chairman, will take the easy way out and recruit a sacrificial candidate to run against Gorski?
"We fully intend to field a viable candidate for county executive," insists Reynolds, who sees the '91 election for county executive as an "excellent opportunity to unseat an incumbent."
While Gorski is the early favorite, Reynolds insists the county executive is vulnerable because of his "record of broken promises on taxes and other important issues."
Reynolds also is counting on the undercurrent of voter hostility against incumbents that has begun to manifest itself in national, state and local politics.
Gorski could face more than Republican opposition next year.
Buffalo Mayor Griffin, a Democrat, is considering a campaign for county executive. If he runs, he would file against Gorski in the Democratic primary.
Reynolds said some GOP leaders have asked him to consider Griffin for the GOP endorsement for county executive. But Reynolds is sticking to his previously expressed preference to endorse an enrolled Republican to challenge Gorski.
Sheriff Thomas F. Higgins, another well-known Democrat, says he was approached about running against Gorski in a Democratic primary. "But it won't happen," says Higgins. "I will not be challenging Dennis Gorski."
The role of the Conservative Party in the 1991 election for county executive remains in doubt.
Gorski ran as the candidate of the Democratic and Liberal parties in 1987, when the Conservative Party supported the then Republican incumbent, Edward J. Rutkowski.
However, the Conservative Party is in the midst of a bitter legal battle for control of the party. The outcome could determine whether the minor party stays with the Republican Party or switches to Gorski in the 1991 campaign for county executive.
The 1991 campaign in Buffalo is expected to be dominated by the crime issue and the widening circle of violence that has gripped the city.
Critics of the Griffin administration long have complained that the mayor has politicized the police department and crippled the morale of its officers. Griffin in turn has blamed the Police Benevolent Association for many of the department's problems.
Some East Side residents say the violence on city streets has become so pervasive that they are afraid to leave their homes.
Meanwhile, citizens are alarmed by complaints that 911 emergency calls sometimes are not answered for 30 or 40 minutes because of a shortage of police patrols.
Voters will elect a city comptroller and two City Court judges and fill all 13 seats on the Common Council in the 1991 election.
Politicians are mourning the death Fred C. Stanek, who served as a Democratic committeeman in the Town of Hamburg for more than 50 years.