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Erie County Executive Finds it Lonely at Top

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Executive Joel Giambra is a man without a party. He left the Democratic Party to run for county executive six years ago. But now, many Republicans don't want him.

Some of Joel Giambra's harshest critics are Republicans. State Senator Dale Volker of Depew says many party members are no doubt distancing themselves from the county executive because of his role in the budget crisis.

"We feel very strongly that what has happened here is a government disaster, as well as a political disaster," said Volker. "We can't afford to have a situation like this continue. So, yes, the answer is the Republican party is getting itself back together. It is not going to be easy, but we are going to do our best to get the party back unified. But I'm afraid Mr. Giambra is not going to be in the plans."

But Volker refuses to demand Giambra's resignation. All he's asking is that Giambra cooperate with county legislators in coming up with a financial plan to solve the crisis. Giambra admits it's lonely at the top. But he rejects the idea that he's being abandoned.

"I have great support still within the Republican Party and I have very much conversations still and am allied with Bob Davis and people who are fund raisers for the Republican Party who still have tremendous faith and confidence in me and my leadership ability," said Giambra.

Indeed, Erie County Republican Chairman Bob Davis was quoted by the Buffalo News recently as saying it's possible Giambra can rebound before he leaves office. Davis said Giambra must solve the current crisis and get back to his original agenda.