Another top Erie County Republican official has decided not to run against Democratic County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Last month, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said he would not run. On Monday, county Clerk Chris Jacobs announced the same decision. Jacobs is backing Assemblyman Ray Walter, who says he is thinking about making the run.
"It's not the right time for me to try to move on to something else. I really believe I have some more tasks that I need to do at the Clerk's office and some initiatives we're rolling out, which I'm very excited about. I just think my first obligation has to be to my current job," Jacobs told WBFO News.
Jacobs says there is plenty of time to gain the party nomination for the run.
"I don't think Mark [Poloncarz] announced against Chris Collins until May and I don't think Chris Collins announced four years earlier until May. So, there's plenty of time. It's not like [Republican chairman] Nick Langworthy has been sitting on his hands. He has been talking to other electeds and, hopefully, other people outside of government that might be interested," Jacobs said.
Legislator Ed Rath III is also considering a run to move into the building named for his grandfather, the first county executive, Edward A. Rath.
"I appreciate Clerk Jacobs' support," Walter told WBFO. "There's a party process that must occur and I have great respect for that process. I'd certainly looked at this opportunity and think it's a winnable race. I'll continue to talk with my family and party leaders and the decision will be made sooner rather than later."
Internal Republican polling shows it will be a tough race, especially in a county with vastly more Democrats than Republicans. Still, Chris Collins won the county executive race eight years ago, despite the Democratic overlay.
"The overlay is always there, but we've shown the ability to overcome that. I think voters look at the person," Jacobs said.