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Zellner staves off chairmanship challenge

 By Robert J. McCarthy

   A legal challenge to the 2012 election of Jeremy J. Zellner as chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee has been dismissed by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

   The suit, brought by supporters of unsuccessful chairman candidate Frank C. Max Jr. --  chairman of Cheektowaga Democrats -- was found to be without merit by the Rochester panel after a similar decision in Buffalo. Max had contended that the vote at last September's reorganizational meeting was unfairly weighted toward Zellner after improper redistricting in the Town of Amherst engineered by Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward, the town's former Democratic chairman.

   "The elections commissioner used an arcane provision of election law to redistrict in Amherst to his advantage," attorney Peter Reese said in filing the appeal last October.

   Zellner was elected by a wide margin, with about 57 percent of the vote to Max's 43 percent.
   In a statement, he reiterated his contention that he is the legally elected chairman of the Erie County party.

   "This ruling confirms the overwhelming vote by the duly elected committee members of the Erie County Democratic Committee," Zellner said. "At the time of the vote, both candidates for chair stated publicly that they were going to unite behind the winner. It is time for the Democratic Party in Erie County to move forward together and unite behind our strong ticket."

   Max said Monday no decision has been made regarding taking the case to the Court of Appeals.

 

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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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