For 18 years now, politicians running for countywide office have sought the blessing of a diminutive but still fiery figure -- former County Comptroller Alfreda W. Slominski.
That proved no different Wednesday when Republican incumbent Chris Collins trumpeted another endorsement for him by Slominski (she also backed him in 2007). Republican Slominski, now 82 years old and retired, has often proven a powerful force, as in 1993 when she endorsed newcomer Republican Nancy A. Naples to succeed her, and in 1995 when she endorsed incumbent Democrat Dennis T. Gorski for re-election as county executive.
Now, Collins has turned the tables on his Democratic opponent -- current Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz -- by quoting Poloncarz's description of Slominski as "the gold standard of elected leaders."
“I can’t agree more with Mr. Poloncarz that Alfreda Slominski is the ‘gold standard’ for office holders." Collins said. "This places an even higher value on her endorsement of my candidacy for Erie County executive."
Collins said he considers the only three endorsements with "real value" in the race to stem from Slominski, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and the Associated Builders and Contractors.
"I am proud to have all three," he said. "The business community strongly supports me because I am the only candidate who has created private-sector jobs.”
The Slominski endorsement also will be carried to the airwaves in a radio ad that begins airing Thursday.
Mark Poloncarz has politicized the independence of the Comptroller’s Office to advance his own political career," Slominski says in the ad. "Don’t be fooled. In this election, there’s only one taxpayer watchdog we can all count on. Chris Collins."
--Robert J. McCarthy