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Lenihan staying on through election

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan had planned for Friday to be his last day on the job.

Instead, he's staying on as chairman at least through the November election, even after holding a farewell party at Pettibone's in Downtown Buffalo on Thursday night.

It's at least the third time Lenihan has moved his resignation date, a decision he said he made Friday after consulting with members of his party.

"At this point, we're about 10 weeks away from the election," Lenihan said in a phone interview Friday evening. "To spend the next four or five weeks getting involved in a party fight to choose my successor so shortly before the election in November is unwise."

He pointed to two major races he wants to win on Nov. 8: the county executive and the county clerk. He also said he believes Democrats have a shot at retaking the majority in the Erie County Legislature due to recent redistricting. Lenihan had planned to begin a job with the state's Democratic Party and had in previous interviews with The Buffalo News acknowledged the factious nature of the party in Erie County did create problems for both him and the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

When asked if he intends to resign after the November election, Lenihan was noncommittal.

"Right now I don't have any plans to run for re-election [in the fall of 2012]," Lenihan said. "There's plenty of time to talk about the transition in the party and now is not the best time to do that."

email: kbargnes@buffnews.com