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Conservatives back Flynn for district attorney

The contest for Erie County district attorney solidified significantly Thursday night when Erie County Conservatives endorsed Democrat John J. Flynn Jr.

Flynn now enters an expected three-way Democratic primary against interim District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty Jr. and former Assistant District Attorney Mark A. Sacha.

Flynn now has the support of leaders from the Democratic and Conservative parties, which includes both money and organizational power.

Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo said his committee also interviewed Flaherty, Republican hopeful Mark Arcara and Conservative Joseph Treanor.

“To me, Flynn has the clear support of the group,” Lorigo said. “This job is one of the most sensitive jobs in the entire county and it needs to be handled in a sensitive manner, and hopefully in a nonpolitical manner.”

The chairman said his committee was impressed by Flynn’s service as a JAG officer in the Naval Reserve, his experience as an assistant district attorney, and as a former Tonawanda councilman, judge and attorney.

And indications continue to point toward Republican backing for Flaherty, though Erie County GOP Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy will say only that “everything is on the table.”

Sacha, whose campaign has been largely dormant since he announced his interest several weeks ago, appears to have revived his effort in recent days.

He visited with the Working Families Party on Wednesday in a bid to secure the minor party’s endorsement, and is again making the rounds just as a special grand jury convened on Monday to hear matters surrounding former Erie County Democratic Chairman G. Steven Pigeon.

Now a defense attorney, Sacha has been pointing in recent days to his role in launching a Pigeon probe by complaining to the Erie County Board of Elections about the political operative’s campaign finance activities in the 2013 Democratic primary. Sacha was also fired from the District Attorney’s Office in 2009 after he publicly complained that two successive district attorneys looked the other way on Pigeon’s alleged violations of election law.

“This an extraordinary opportunity for the people to elect a person who will be a DA for the people and not for the political parties and operatives,” Sacha said.

Republican Christopher L. Jacobs received Conservative endorsement when the party backed him for the 60th Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Marc C. Panepinto. No Democrat asked for the Conservative nod, Lorigo said.

The party also will back Democrat Michael P. Kearns in the 142nd Assembly District; Republican Raymond W. Walter, 146th Assembly District; Democrat Robin L. Schimminger, 140th Assembly District; Republican David J. DiPietro, 147th Assembly District; Republican Patrick M. Gallivan, 59th Senate District; and Republican Michael H. Ranzenhofer, 61st Senate District.