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COMMENTARY

Bob McCarthy: Snacking on election leftovers

It’s a big weekend for leftovers. Here are some from Election ’18:

• Sean Bunny is suddenly popular again among the 27th Congressional District’s “Wednesday morning quarterbacks.” The Erie County assistant district attorney and Army veteran’s name has entered all kinds of conversations in recent days following Nate McMurray’s narrow loss to Congressman Chris Collins (though McMurray has said he will not concede).

“Sean Bunny could have won,” say the one-time candidate’s new fans.

Bunny emerged as a top contender to challenge Collins early this year until McMurray entered the race, too. Democratic leaders backed McMurray, Bunny withdrew, and the rest is history.

Now McMurray’s apparent loss by a mere 1,384 votes prompts that kind of talk, in the “for what it’s worth” department.

• Byron Brown’s declaration of war against Comptroller Mark Schroeder — whom he easily dispatched last year in the election for mayor — raises intriguing possibilities. Will Brown’s powerful forces now find an opponent to face Schroeder in next year’s Democratic primary?

It appears the mayor would prefer to live without Schroeder’s presence on City Hall’s 12th floor.

Brown unloads on critics, cites city's progress: 'I am the CEO of the city'

• John Flanagan of Suffolk County remains leader of the State Senate’s Republicans following a failed effort to dislodge him last week by Sen. Cathy Young of Olean. Despite the call for upstate leadership, Young managed to gain support only from Sen. Rob Ortt among Western New York colleagues.

A united Western New York front might have spelled a different outcome.

• Congressman Brian Higgins was forced into difficult political acrobatics a few days ago after calling for Nancy Pelosi’s replacement as Democratic leader in the House of Representatives. Higgins pledged his support to Pelosi on Wednesday, however, after receiving assurance she will rank as priorities infrastructure programs and Medicare availability for those over 50.

Higgins never anticipated that scenario earlier this year when he envisioned Rep. Joe Crowley as someday ascending to the speaker’s rostrum. All of that ended when the veteran Queens congressman — and close Higgins friend — got trounced by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the June Democratic primary.

Another “what if?” to ponder, even if “what ifs?” don’t make a particle of difference in the real world of politics.

• Legislator Pat Burke will soon be clearing out his County Hall desk in preparation for a new job as Democratic assemblyman. Now attention focuses on his soon-to-be-vacated seat in the County Legislature, which will be filled by appointment of its Democratic majority.

Most attention focuses on two members of the Cheektowaga Town Board — Tim Myers and Brian Nowak. Scott Wilson, who has been active in young Democrats clubs, is also exploring a candidacy.

• Dr. Jim Campbell of the University at Buffalo points to a study by a University of Florida colleague dousing some of the enthusiasm over increased turnout on Nov. 6 in New York and around the nation. The number of voters trekking to polls across the country increased significantly over the 2014 midterm — from 36.7 percent in 2014 to about 49.4 percent this year.

But New Yorkers should not congratulate themselves too much despite this year’s increase of 13 percentage points over 2014. Turnout in New York continues to be among the lowest in the nation. In 2014, New York ranked second to last at 29 percent (behind Indiana), and fourth from the bottom this year at 42.1 percent, behind Hawaii, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Campbell, by the way, came darn close with his prediction that Democrats would gain 44 House seats this year. The current score is plus-39, and no matter what, a strong Democratic majority.

• Sometimes the cadre of workers at the Board of Elections get overlooked in the grand scheme of things. But a firsthand look at their Wednesday diligence in counting the 27th District’s absentee votes underscores the important role they play in ensuring that elections remain fair to all.

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