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Robert McCarthy: Bruso to the rescue, and other election tidbits

A most interesting election:

• Erie County Democrats should reward their newly elected legislator from Lancaster, John Bruso, with a nice big office in County Hall. Back in February, the UPS veteran mentioned to Congressman Brian Higgins that he would soon retire and might run for office.

Higgins, according to sources, suggested the County Legislature.

Bruso won, despite Republican incumbent Ted Morton’s radio ads touting his opponent’s endorsement by Grassroots – an “East Side” political organization.

With the victory, Bruso ensures a Democratic majority in County Hall for the next two years. Had he lost, Dem Chairman Jeremy Zellner would certainly be enduring howls of protest this week for losing the three countywide offices and the Legislature (despite some success on the local level).

But he isn’t. Bruso to the rescue.

Bruso's win tips control of Erie County Legislature to Democrats

• How big a deal is Democratic control of the Legislature? Ask the appointees over at the Erie County Water Authority, where Democrats will install a new commissioner in April when Republican Bob Anderson’s term expires. Include Executive Director Earl Jann among those nervous nellies.

• Names mentioned most often for new Legislature chairman: Tom Loughran and Peter Savage.

• Democratic factions are sniping at each other over Election Day results. Nothing serious – but it’s there.

Inside County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s operation, some feel the defeated Bernie Tolbert would be Sheriff-elect Tolbert today with an all out-effort by Mayor Byron Brown’s powerful political machine. City Hall sources call that charge “ridiculous,” that the Brown forces worked overtime to turn out city Dems – even with no real contests in the city.

The fact that Tuesday’s turnout far exceeded the “real” election on Primary Day, they say, points to the mayoral team’s efforts – even though Tolbert challenged Brown for mayor four years ago.

“Don’t point fingers,” said one City Hall type. “Look in the mirror.”

• In “normal” states that prohibit “fusion” voting, Tolbert would have clobbered incumbent Tim Howard in a straight Democrat-Republican contest. But this is New York, where minor parties endorse major party candidates, and Howard can thank Conservatives and their 21,341 votes should he win a fourth term.

Ditto for Legislator Joe Lorigo, who relied on his own Conservative Party to stave off a tough challenge from Democrat Michele Schoeneman. Loughran, however, showed them over at Conservative HQ he doesn’t need their stinkin’ old endorsement anyway. He skipped past Republican Guy Marlette just on the strength of the Dem line.

• Democrat Mickey Kearns learned Tuesday the difficulty of running as a Republican in Buffalo, even though he remains a Democrat. The county clerk-elect got creamed in every district but his own South in an election in which Democrat Steve Cichon came closer than anyone anticipated.

Now Kearns must begin raising funds immediately for another election in 2018 for a full, four-year term.

• Speaking of Kearns, his Assembly seat will now be vacated come Jan. 1. The successor names heard most often at the Politics Column are South Council Member Chris Scanlon, Legislator Pat Burke and Lackawanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski.

• Did anyone notice that Mark Schroeder still garnered 26 percent of the Buffalo mayoral vote running on the vaunted Reform Party line?

• Tuesday’s defeat of Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino for a third term has winnowed the field of potential GOP candidates for governor next year. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb of Canandaigua, Sen. John DeFrancisco of Syracuse and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro are interested, but lots of Repubs will wait for businessman Harry Wilson – the party’s 2010 comptroller candidate – to make his decision some time in the next few weeks.

• Quote of the Week comes from Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy on Howard’s oh-so-narrow victory in the race for sheriff: “Tim’s a survivor.”

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