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With primary season over, Erie County Democrats still need new leader

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Now that primary season is over, Erie County Democrats embark on a general election campaign in the midst of a leadership crisis. 

Party chairman Len Lenihan is leaving his post without a clear front-runner in place to succeed him. 

For a while, it looked like former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello would be the new Democratic Party leader.  But he pulled his name from consideration last week, saying he is now committed to the lobbying firm he's a part of. 

WBFO & AM-970 News asked Masiello about his decision.  Masiello said he's confident the party will eventually settle of a leader.

"You have to have a strong, visible, well organized, well financed county party, and I hope the person who succeeds Lenihan will be able develop the field operation, the resources, the technology, and bring people together that  need to be brought together," said Masiello.

Victor Martucci is a Republican operative and a partner with Masiello at their lobbying firm.  Martucci said local Democrats have come out of past leadership disputes in good shape and expect they will do so again this time.

"They've become good at surviving  this type of political in-fighting," said Martucci.

Besides, says Martucci, the clout of political parties in today's campaigns has diminished as many candidates use their own grass roots supporters to get elected.