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Dunn stays in sheriff’s race despite primary loss to Dobson

The race for Erie County sheriff just got a bit more interesting.

It turns out Bert D. Dunn, recently defeated in the Democratic primary for the county’s top law enforcement post, isn’t done quite yet.

Dunn announced at a news conference Monday afternoon that despite his primary loss to Democratic nominee Richard E. Dobson, he will appear in the general election on a minor-party line.

“I’m sure some people have counted me out,” Dunn said.

“I’m sure some people believe that you must have a major-party line to be successful. I disagree.”

Dunn will appear in November’s general election on the Law and Order Party line, which he established by gaining enough signatures before the primary.

It remains unclear whether Dunn stands a chance against Dobson or incumbent Republican Sheriff Timothy B. Howard who is seeking re-election.

But one thing is sure: Dunn’s appearance is likely to have some impact on the race, even if he doesn’t pull off some sort of an upset.

His appearance means two registered Democrats will appear in the general election against Howard, setting up a possible scenario where Dunn and Dobson could split the Democratic vote.

Dobson defeated Dunn by fewer than 700 votes in the primary earlier this month.

Dunn, a sheriff’s lieutenant, isn’t wasting any time talking about what he sees as the current sheriff’s faults.

“I see the wasting of resources. I see inefficient use of personnel. I see critical maintenance being ignored,” Dunn said.

“No one is accountable. Systems fail, and we’ve seen the deadly results.”

Dunn, whose family owns the Bert’s Bikes stores, also appeared disgusted at how the political process has played out through the primary elections, saying it has been an “eye opener.”

“I’ve seen the selfishness, the nastiness, people who’ve never even met me telling blatant lies about me,” he said. “I knew it would be that way to some degree, when I took on this challenge, but I have to say the depth of it is surprising and disappointing.”

Dunn made a point to reference accusations made Sunday in The Buffalo News that Dobson’s campaign coordinated with a political fund run by associates of former Erie County Democratic Chairman G. Steven Pigeon – a charge his opponent’s campaign denies.

He also pledged to make Erie County safer “without costing taxpayers a dime more” and to urge state legislators to repeal parts of the SAFE Act, the controversial gun-control bill that Howard has openly opposed.

Meanwhile, Howard was endorsed Monday by the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association. “Our endorsement is based upon his opposition to the SAFE Act and willingness to stand up to Gov. Cuomo’s assault upon our Second Amendment civil rights,” the organization said in a brief statement of support.

News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy contributed to this report. email: