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Pordum to Challenge Swarts for County Clerk

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – It could be one of the more interesting local races this fall. Former State Assemblyman Fran Pordum on Thursday announced his candidacy for Erie County Clerk. He'll take on long-time incumbent David Swarts in a Democratic primary.

Pordum has been out of politics since he lost a 1996 race in which he left the Assembly to challenge Republican Congressman Jack Quinn. Since then, he's been teaching math in the Lackawanna School District. Pordum said he's running to get politics out of the County Clerk's office.

"I decided to enter the race because I think Mr. Swarts has politicized the office of County Clerk," Pordum said. "Mr. Swarts seems obsessed with becoming chairman of the Democratic party and has forgotten what the taxpayers elected him to do."

But the incumbent, David Swarts, says he's making no apologies. He says the county clerk is an elective office and thus is a part of the political arena. Swarts says Pordum's candidacy is Democratic Party leader Steve Pigeon's way of getting back at him for his challenge of the chairman two years ago.

"(Pordum) is Steve Pigeon's candidate," Swarts asserted. "It's (the Pordum campaign) certainly not at all about running a County Clerk's office in a progressive, creative way. It's not about utilizing technology. It's not about cost effective management. It's all about Pigeon-Pordum's attempt to take control of the County Clerk's office."

When specifically asked about Pigeon in a WBFO News interview, Pordum seemed to downplay that connection, focusing instead on the broad base of support he says he has from all factions of the Democratic party.