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Lenihan slams firing of Ranzenhofer aide

The claims of a State Senate staffer who said she was fired for supporting Republican David Bellavia over endorsed candidate Chris Collins in the 27th Congressional District primary are now prompting a torrent of Democratic criticism too.   

Erie County Democratic Chairman Leonard R. Lenihan on Tuesday called on Collins to explain any role he might have in the May dismissal of Michelle McCullough, claiming reports of "intimidation" raise questions about how he will conduct his campaign.   

Lenihan said that because McCullough claims she was fired by State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer, R-Williamsville, for supporting Collins opponent Bellavia, more explanations are needed.   

"The public deserves to know if Collins played a direct role with Ranzenhofer in costing this public servant her job," Lenihan said. "The time has come for both Collins and Ranzenhofer to come clean and explain why an otherwise good employee was suddenly let go after she circulated petitions for Collins’ opponent." 

The Collins campaign declined to comment on the Lenihan claim.   

The Buffalo News reported Tuesday that McCullough filed a formal ethics complaint against Ranzenhofer, alleging the senator "coerced" his staff to gather ballot petitions for Collins.   

"He has obstructed the fair and due process of elections and violated not only the integrity of his staff but the public trust," McCulloch said in a filing with the agency that has jurisdiction over legislative ethics matters.

—Robert J. McCarthy

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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.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


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.

tprecious@buffnews.com


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 | jterreri@buffnews.com


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 | jzremski@buffnews.com

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