BUFFALO, NY-- This is a big political year in Erie County, with the offices of Mayor of Buffalo, Erie County Sheriff and Erie County Comptroller up for grabs.
There's a Republican running for mayor in the city of Buffalo, and that fact has upset a number of people in the Republican party.
Sergio Rodriguez announced his candidacy for Mayor, and he did it against the wishes of Republican party leaders.
Rodriguez is a longshot to put it mildly, and that's just based on the number of Democrats in the city.Buffalo has about seven times as many Democrats as Republicans.
The concern among Republican party leaders is, that if Rodriguez is on the ballot in November running against Byron Brown, it will energize Democratic voters in the city and bring them to the polls where presumably they would also vote for the Democratic candidates for Sheriff And Comptroller.
That would hurt the candidacies of Republican Sheriff Tim Howard and Republican Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.
Jim Heaney of Investigative Post asked Rodriguez about that in an interview.
Jim Heaney: Tell me about the discussions you have had with the Republican party leadership and what they are telling you?
Sergio Rodriguez: Well, it is important to understand these have been private conversations. They have been uncomfortable. We are in disagreement with where I feel the party should go.
Heaney: Have they asked point blank to not run?
Rodriguez: I've been encouraged not to run. Strongly encouraged.
Heaney: Have they offered you anything in exchange for not running?
Rodriguez: There have been some things that have come to my attention in order for me to step down.
Heaney: Like a job?
Rodriguez: There have been offers made.
Scott Brown: "Sergio Rodriguez says un-named party people have encouraged you not to run, are you one of those people?"
Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy: "No I'm not. Sergio has told me from the very beginning he's going to run for mayor. I had a conversation with him very early about electability, the opportunity to win but certainly have not discouraged him from running the race."
We also checked with Buffalo's Republican Chairman, Bill Nowakowski and in a phone conversation Nowakowski told Scott Brown it wasn't him who told Rodriguez not to run.
Bill Nowakowski: "I talked to Sergio in January and told him he needs to raise money and show me he's a viable candidate. We'll make our endorsements in May or June."
So that still leaves us with an unanswered question.
Scott Brown: "When he says people have strongly encouraged him not to run do you know who those people are?"
Nick Langworthy: "I don't know who those people are. It wasn't Bill Nowakowski from my conversations with Bill and it certainly wasn't me."