By Robert J. McCarthy
The first call for the resignation of Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner following Tuesdays' election reverses came today from a not unexpected source -- G. Steven Pigeon.
The former chairman, who represents a vocal faction of opposition within the party to the Headquarters group controlled by Zellner, said the loss of the County Legislature and two countywide posts necessitates a change.
"He needs to leave," Pigeon said. "There is not time for another year of fighting."
Pigeon suggested Zellner's departure should be negotiated in a way that would be acceptable for him.
"It doesn't mean he can't be accommodated," Pigeon said in a suggestion of compromise. "That's the way wars end."
Pigeon has emerged in recent weeks as a confidant of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's inner political circle, though not all Western New York Democrats agree he speaks for those insiders. Still, Cuomo's political team has had no close relationship with Zellner, and Pigeon is viewed as at the very least maintaining close ties with the governor's political operation.
Zellner has maintained throughout his chairmanship that he will serve out his term and run for another in September. "Listening to Steve Pigeon talking about the chairmanship is like taking boating lessons from the captain of the Titanic," Zellner said.