Analysis: Kevin Stocker keeps things interesting in local politics
Stuff you should know about politics around here:
• It used to be that GOP headquarters listed Kenmore attorney Kevin Stocker as their official “bad boy” after challenging their candidates in primaries.
This year, Stocker gained the same listing from Democrats after he switched parties and took on endorsed Dem Bill Conrad for the 140th Assembly District in the June primary.
Now Stocker is the Erie County Board of Elections’ bad boy, after alleging rampant “fraud” and seeking a new primary – all since the board has certified Conrad as winner of the primary.
“We’re seeking a preliminary injunction regarding certification of the race because they did not follow the proper procedures to ensure an honest and fair election,” Stocker says.
That’s a heavy lift. Court-ordered election “re-dos” are as rare as GOP victories in the Masten District.
But Stocker says Conrad’s approximate 800-vote win stems from a host of irregularities, that 2,700 ballots are unaccounted for, and even that election results failed to match his own polling of more than 10,000 voters – a unique argument in the annals of election law.
Board officials dismiss Stocker’s claims as ridiculous, adding he could never identify enough votes to overtake Conrad anyway. They plan a fight when it all goes before State Supreme Justice Timothy Walker later this month.
One thing about Stocker – he makes it interesting.
• Up in Niagara County, Francine DelMonte’s name has surfaced as a replacement for retiring Democratic Chairman Jason Zona. The former assemblywoman says she will “probably not” become a candidate, but does promise to take a more active role in the party.
“I have inserted myself into the process to find someone to lead us,” she told the Politics Column, “and I certainly expect to take a big role even when that person is in place.”
Talk about “interesting” – an expanded DelMonte role in Niagara politics will guarantee it.
• The election for State Supreme Court features a return of 2019 Republican Gerald Greenan, this year against Democrat Amy Martoche, a Buffalo city judge. In a preliminary that may or may not mean a thing, Greenan appears to have narrowly won the Independence primary on June 23, at least in pledged delegates to the party’s judicial nominating convention later this month.
But who shows up at such a nebulous event in such a nebulous party always remains a question.
In the November general election, Greenan will pin his hopes on a strong, pro-Trump Republican turnout in the outlying counties of the eight-county Eighth Judicial District, while Martoche banks on the Dems of Erie and Niagara.
• A significant changing of the guard at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority follows new appointments to the board of commissioners by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. In: Jennifer Persico, the Rev. Mark Blue and Stephen Tucker. Out: Bonita Durand, Sam Gurney and Peter Demakos, who was appointed by former Gov. George Pataki.
Demakos’ 20 years on the high-profile board marked a nice run, but for those keeping score at home, Bill Gisel of Bell Aircraft logged a record 31 years followed by labor leader Jim Wolford’s 25 years.
And since by statute the NFTA chair automatically sits on the Peace Bridge Authority, Gurney has also represented Sister Denise Roche for the past several years on the binational panel. NFTA officials say Gurney will continue as Roche’s appointee.
• The Buffalo News death notices a few days ago reported the loss of Chris Walsh, a longtime figure in West Seneca Democratic politics. Walsh had his share of adversaries, but counted more friends than enemies.
The father of former West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan, Walsh was such a loyal Dem that his family designated Joe Biden’s presidential campaign for donations.
Walsh would no doubt be pleased. Can’t get any more Democrat than that.