County Executive race turns contentious

Oct 21, 2015

The race for Erie County Executive has been unusually quiet, with both candidates shying away from the accusations and personal attacks that have become political staples. Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy anticipates that changing following Tuesday's debate at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute.

Assemblyman Ray Walter, the Republican challenger for County Executive, accused incumbent Mark Poloncarz of a conflict of interest for accepting a large campaign donation from a developer who had business before the Erie County Industrial Development Agency. McCarthy says the timing of the remark sparked some emotional responses.

"This was just laid out there at the very last closing of the debate," McCarthy explained.

"I think it got Mark Poloncarz's goat because afterwards he said to me that he (Walter) didn't have the guts to bring it up during the debate."

Poloncarz also told McCarthy that the developer in question currently has no business with the ECIDA.

"I think it's going to change the tone of this thing," McCarthy said during a Wednesday morning conversation on WBFO.

The candidates disagreed on how to extend Metro Rail service into Amherst. They also offered contrasting approaches to dealing with poverty throughout Erie County.