The race to fill Michael Kearns' NYS Assembly seat is heating up. According to the attached article from the Buffalo News, local teacher Erik Bohen is considering running against Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke.
Bohen, a registered Democrat would have to run in the special election as a Republican, using the same strategy Kearns used in defeating Chris Fahey. Burke enjoys the support of Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner . However, South Buffalo Voters, while predominantly Democrats, traditionally vote across party lines if they know the Republican candidate. This has been proven time and time again. I believe most South Buffalo voters are more conservative and actually have more in common with the values the Republican Party stands for (or at least claims to.) The major exception to this is the unions, the reason I believe most of them became Democrats in the first place. Bohen has strong familial ties to Western NY unions through his father.
Both candidates are good guys and well known in their respective circles. I believe this could be a very close race. I don't believe Zellner, Mark Polancarz, and specifically Poloncarz' staff member Jennifer Hibit have done Burke any favors. They've shown zero respect to the true leaders in the district and this could cost Burke considerable support and could end up being a feather in Bohen's cap.
When the people in power ignore residents with reach and big mouths, it sometimes comes back to bite them. I don't believe Poloncarz has done anything to reach out to the leaders in South Buffalo. I know for a fact, Mark Schroeder's recommendations to Polancarz and Hibit were completely ignored. And Schroeder and Burke, in the spirit of career politicians, stood by idly and did nothing to stand up to them. I believe those on the outside might reach out to the outsider candidate (in this case Bohen). Patrick Burke has his supporters. Erik Bohen has his. I believe this race will be won by the candidate who reaches out to the forgotten constituents of the district, who could become very involved in this race. Good luck to both candidates.