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Democrats still feuding over sheriff's race


By Robert J. McCarthy

   Democrat Richard E. Dobson may have won a hotly contested Democratic primary for sheriff last month, but it doesn't mean all is now well within a divided Erie County Democratic Party.
   James J. Eagan, chairman of the Dobson campaign, is now accusing Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner of abandoning Dobson after beating headquarters candidate Bert D. Dunn on Sept. 10. Following a Wednesday meeting at Democratic Headquarters that also involved Dobson supporters Jack O'Donnell and Rich Horner, Eagan said Zellner informed them the sheriff's race would occupy a lower priority than electing Democratic candidates to the County Legislature.
   "Obviously, this is because of his patronage job," Eagan said regarding Zellner's post as chief of staff in the Legislature. "He's putting his personal interests ahead of the party. He should resign."

   Eagan, who is secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee controlled by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said Zellner's refusal to financially help the Dobson campaign against Republican incumbent Timothy B. Howard indicates a failure to grasp the "olive branch" extended by the Dobson campaign.

   "This is not a way to unite a party," he said.

   Zellner, meanwhile, said he is helping Dobson in various ways, especially in setting up his Monday meeting before Democratic town chairmen. He is also helping with printing arrangements.

   But he said he has made no financial commitments because he must pay attention to several campaigns.

   "He said he'd raise $275,000 for Dick Dobson," Zellner said of Eagan. "What's he worried about me for?"

   Zellner said Eagan's comments are not helping to unite a divided Democratic party.

   "That's what Jim Eagan and others need to do," he said. "I'm asking them to quit their bickering and get back to the business of supporting Democrats."


  

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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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