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GOP to push own DA candidate after Democrats skip interviews

None of the three Democrats seeking the district attorney post showed up for weekend interviews with Erie County Republicans, nixing the possibility of cross-endorsement and paving the way for an old-fashioned, two-party showdown in November.

Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy said Monday that after initial discussions with Democrat Michael J. Flaherty Jr., the acting district attorney, it now appears the GOP will nominate its own candidate for the fall general election. That means a choice between Republican Mark Arcara and Joseph Treanor, a Conservative seeking the GOP nod.

“We’re going to give voters a choice,” Langworthy said.

The move sets up his party’s candidate against the winner of an expected September Democratic primary featuring Flaherty, endorsed Democrat John J. Flynn Jr. and Mark A. Sacha.

It also emerges as a minor surprise because Republicans backed Democrat Frank A. Sedita III for re-election in 2012 and had explored a similar cross-endorsement for Flaherty in 2016.

But Langworthy emphasized that while he had previously declared everything to “be on the table,” and other sources indicated discussions had taken place with Democrat Flaherty, the preferred alternative has always been a Republican candidate.

In the meantime, Flynn has since gained the often influential Conservative line for the general election contest.

But Treanor’s potential endorsement by the Republicans now offers intriguing possibilities, since the retired NAVY JAG officer is a registered Conservative.

It is possible that he could challenge Flynn for the minor party line in September if he receives the GOP nod.

Treanor unsuccessfully ran against Democrat Dennis T. Gorski for Cheektowaga town justice in 2014.

It is also possible that the eventual Republican candidate could garner other minor party lines like Independence and Reform, dealing a blow to a candidate like Flaherty who could theoretically enter the general election contest with only one line.

Arcara, meanwhile, is the nephew of U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, the last Republican to win the district attorney’s post back in 1985.

Despite the substantial turnout expected in heavily Democratic Erie County in this presidential election year, Langworthy reiterated his contention that a strong Republican candidate could win.

“Just look at 2012 when a Republican won the office of Erie County comptroller,” the chairman said.

“This is certainly the year of the outsider and there are a lot of possibilities in November.”