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Skelos, Grisanti to parley on Oct. 7

   State Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos will be coming to town on Oct. 7, and, according to several GOP sources, it's a sure bet he will sit down for a conversation with his Republican colleague (for the moment at least) Mark J. Grisanti of Buffalo.

   That's because Grisanti holds a key position in maintaining the GOP majority in the Senate, and speculation continues that he may join the Independent Democratic Caucus -- a group of four renegade Democrats who are nonetheless Democrats when majorities and minorities are determined.

   The sources say Skelos will make his case for Grisanti remaining in the party, even though no reapportionment lines have yet been drawn. And since Grisanti is a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, party labels are bound to prove important in the election of 2012.

   --Robert J. McCarthy 

Congressman Reed to make the rounds in Buffalo

   Republican Rep. Tom Reed of Corning will be in Buffalo on Friday, and his visit will prove far from a social call. He will attend a lunch with influential Republicans hosted by Erie County Republican Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy as upcoming reapportionment continues to provide intriguing possibilities.

   GOP sources say there is always a possibility that the former mayor of Corning could end up in a portion of Erie County if the makers of congressional districts somehow go wild with their boundary pens. But even before that process gets off the ground, Reed now stands as the only Republican member of Congress with any ties to Western New York (Cattaraugus and Allegany counties), and Langworthy says it is good for him to make the rounds here.

   "It's a good opportunity to meet some fine Buffalo folks," Langowrthy said.

   The chairman also noted that Reed has signed up for his campaign staff Pam Baker, a veteran fundraiser who previously worked for former Reps. Tom Reynolds and Chris Lee.

  --Robert J. McCarthy

Hochul holds Manhattan fundraiser

   Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul has been in office only four months and has no definite opponent yet on the horizon, but that doesn't mean the Amherst Democrat is not in campaign mode.

   Aides said the congresswoman scheduled a major fundraiser in Manhattan Tuesday evening, with Sen. Charles E. Schumer among the celebrity guests.
   --Robert J. McCarthy

Brian Meyer discusses "The Brown Brand" on WBFO

  Buffalo News reporter Brian Meyer in a conversation with WBFO's Eileen Buckley talks about his recent article, "Building the Brown Brand." Listen to the interview here.

Dems drop Miller-Williams from Legislature candidate lineup

The Democratic lineup for Erie County Legislature is in, and Legislature Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams is out.

The Erie County Democratic Committee met this morning at the United Auto Workers Region 9 headquarters in Amherst to choose candidates for the 11 new Erie County Legislature districts.

Here's the latest list released by the Dems:

  • 1st: Timothy Hogues
  • 2nd: Betty Jean Grant (i)
  • 3rd: Lynn Marinelli (i)
  • 4th: Jeremy Zellner
  • 5th: Thomas Loughran (i)
  • 6th: Toni Vazquez
  • 7th: Thomas Mazur (i)
  • 8th: Terry McCracken
  • 9th: Jon Gorman
  • 10th: Christina Bove (i)
  • 11th: none

       *(i) notes incumbent

Most notable is the absence of Miller-Williams from the list. She is on the outs with Democratic leaders after caucusing with Republicans in the Erie County Legislature.

"I think it's a disservice to the constituents in the 1st District," Miller-Williams said this afternoon after learning of the committee vote. She plans to appear on a new line on the November ballot and is also seeking nominations from the Working Families and Independence parties.

The Democrats also nominated Mary Lou Pew in the 11th District, but she declined the nomination after this morning's meeting, said Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan.

For more on the Legislature races, check out News Political Reporter Robert J. McCarthy's story, Surprise picks made for county elections, which appeared in today's Buffalo News.

McCarthy explains why party leaders are hand-picking the candidates, who the Republicans are considering for each district and what the most surprising development is in this weekend's nominations.

--Denise Jewell Gee

Video: Ryan's victory speech following win in 144th District

Special election voters chose Democrat Sean M. Ryan as their new assemblyman in the 144th District.

Here was his victory speech at Cole's on Elmwood:

Brown pleased with Council primary results

A five-to-four majority on the Common Council is still expected to line up against Mayor Byron W. Brown following Tuesday's primary election, but the city's chief executive was pleased nevertheless that three of his supporters -- Bonnie E. Russell in University, Joseph Golombek Jr. in North, and Demone A. Smith in Masten -- won convincing victories.

"I'm very pleased that the candidates for Common Council who have worked closely with my administration and supported initiatives that have moved our city forward won overwhelmingly tonight," the mayor said. "I'm especially proud of my longtime friend, Judge Robert Russell Jr., who was the top vote-getter for City Court judge. I also want to congratulate newcomer Judge Susan Eagan, who I recently appointed and was also victorious in the race for City Court judge."

Brown did not mention the loss by Samuel A. Herbert to David A. Franczyk in Fillmore, where Herbert said Brown forces had been active on his behalf.

--Robert J. McCarthy

Gay group to raise funds for Grisanti

When State Sen. Mark J. Grisanti, R-Buffalo, made his historic vote in June to help legalize same sex marriage in New York State, speculation was rampant that he would receive widespread support from gay advocacy groups.

Indeed, Grisanti and three other GOP senators who voted for same sex marriage (James Alesi, Roy McDonald and Stephen Saland) will now benefit from a fundraiser at Manhattan's Union League Club on Oct. 13 in an event co-chaired by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a vocal supporter of the new marriage bill.

The Union League Club reception was first reported this week by a gay website called Towelroad.

--Robert J. McCarthy

Read more:

More quotes from Sean Ryan following victory in 144th District

On succeeding Sam Hoyt:
"I am humbled to be following in the footsteps of Sam Hoyt and I'm humbled and a little bit afraid that I have to follow behind his hard work and his dedication."

On the 144th district:
Ryan spotlighted the district's assets including its cultural institutions, proximity to the Niagara River and diversity. "As your assembly member — the first time I'm saying that — I will build on those assets but I am not ignorant to the tremendous obstacles we face."

Those obstacles include poverty, unemployment, vacant houses and elected officials' inability to work together, Ryan said.

"I pledge to work together with the institutions that are strong in this community. I pledge to work with other elected officials and I pledge to go to Albany with the community on one page to address our very pressing and serious issues.

"No one will work harder than I will for this community and I will stick to that pledge. If I don't you can come and see me."

--Joe Popiolkowski

Video: Dyster's victory speech following Democratic primary

Paul A. Dyster is half way to becoming Niagara Falls' first two-term mayor since 1991, after he topped Democratic primary opponent John G. Accardo.

Here is Dyster's victory speech:

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |