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NEVER A DULL MOMENT IN THIS TOWN

Yes, we know the mayoral candidates haven't made a peep since Primary Night.

And, yes, we've heard about how "quiet" the political front is this year.

But don't get too lulled. Throughout New York State and in Buffalo in particular, there's always politics going on. Here are a few of the latest developments along the campaign trail:

Erie County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon is returning from New York this weekend after huddling with nine other major county chairmen. The topic: The soon-to-be-upon-us race for governor next year.

As representatives of 75 percent of the state's registered Democrats, these chairmen hope to arrive at consensus on the four major candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. But with New York City Council President Peter Vallone hailing from Queens, and Kings County District Attorney Joe Hynes from Brooklyn, two of the state's biggest power bases must agree for that consensus to happen.

That could prove a tall order. And it doesn't even consider other major players -- Jim Larocca from Long Island and Richard Kahan of Manhattan.

Pigeon, meanwhile, has yet to settle on a candidate. He remains interested in seeing his pal Sen. Anthony Nanula ending up on the ticket, and that consideration could ultimately guide his decision. Still, he seems most interested in either Hynes or Vallone.

The chairman expects to meet with Mayor Masiello and County Executive Gorski this week to determine if there is any consensus on the home front.

Erie County continues to receive the attention of potential gubernatorial candidates, and the proposed constitutional convention is fast becoming their topic du jour.

Larocca was in town a few days ago to address the Town of Tonawanda Dems, where he lashed out at Gov. Pataki's newfound passion for the convention. Though a member of former Gov. Cuomo's panel studying the question, he is convinced the convention is not the way to go.

"This is the ultimate act of hypocrisy," Larocca said, claiming Pataki has not fulfilled his promise to remove state government from the "back room."

"Virtually every problem facing the state today can be addressed right now by a governor truly committed to reform and change," he said.

Kahan, meanwhile, visited with Pigeon and other party leaders last week and was quick to note he is the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate favoring constitutional reform. The former president of the state Urban Development Corporation, Kahan said conversations with upstaters in particular leads him to believe state government is in need of reform and that the convention is the only way to do it.

Supreme Court candidate Pat NeMoyer was slated to gather dozens of lawyers and political pals at the Calumet Arts Cafe last Thursday at $100 a pop to defray the hefty costs of running unopposed. The organizers say "significant" costs are associated with pulling the lever on either the Democrat, Republican, Conservative or Liberal lines.

Equally interesting were two of the affair's co-organizers -- current Dem Chairman Steve Pigeon and former Chairman Jim Sorrentino. A year ago, most Democrats would have paid $100 for the spectacle of seeing the two enemies in the same room.

Congressman Jack Quinn, who felt the labor movement's sights trained on his silver-maned head all during his last campaign, is still trying to convince those union honchos he's not such a bad guy after all.

Still smarting over the AFL-CIO's efforts against him in 1996, Quinn asked former Buffalo AFL-CIO President George Wessel to form a "labor round table" earlier this year. And when that group met last week, state AFL-CIO President Ed Cleary was at the meeting -- another sign he may be making progress.

Quinn used the affair to tell 15 or 20 labor chiefs that he is against the fast track trade authority sought by President Clinton. And he still thinks he and Cleary are on the same team.

"I still think I'm the one who represents working families," Quinn said last week. "And if they think that too, then we should be working together."

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger was doing fine on Wednesday after receiving his flu shot, even if the right arm was a tad sore. His only real mistake came during Gov. Pataki's bill-signing ceremony at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, when he sidled up to Assembly Minority Leader Tom Reynolds -- one of the Western World's all time champion back slappers.

The "Ouch!" cry received more attention than the speeches.

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