In the winter of 2012, my dear departed pal, Dan McParlane, and I pulled a stunt to hand Tina Bove the Assembly seat in District 145 (now redistricted to 142). It all started when Mark Schroeder vacated the seat on being elected City of Buffalo Comptroller. Governor Cuomo called for a special election to fill the vacancy and the Democratic Party machine lurched into motion, planning to hand the plum seat to Congressman Higgin's staffer, Chris Fahey. There was no time for a Primary Election, so under New York's despised Election Law, the party bosses got to pick (nominate) who was on their line, following their own party rules.
McP called me and asked what I thought about the situation. I told him that popular South District Councilmember, Mickey Kearns, clearly had the hearts of the voters, but no Democratic committeemen, so Fahey would be nominated and likely hold the seat for the rest of his natural life. McP disagreed, asserting that his strong West Seneca Democratic Committee had enough votes to hand the seat to former County Legislator, Tina Bove. This was somewhat surprising, as I had the impression that Dan and Tina were somewhat estranged and he was attempting to hand her a gift.
Enter Democratic Party treachery. The rules of the Erie County Democratic Committee were essentially written by Judge Dennis Ward who was both Election Commissioner and Party Secretary in 2012. The rules clearly provide that endorsements, designations and nominations are made by the Committeemen of the affected district for offices ranging from Assemblyman on down. For State Senate seats and higher offices, the power is in the hands of the party's dreaded Executive Committee. In the immortal words of Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be careful." An illegal meeting of the same Executive Committee was promptly called by the Chairman Len Lenihan, for the sole purpose of "Nominating for the 145th Assembly District Special Election scheduled for March 20th, 2012." Springing into action at a speed appropriate to my then 68 year old body, I gathered up my litigating partner, Tea Party Jim Ostrowski, and set off to sue Lenihan and force him to follow his own rules and let the committeemen of the 145th District make the nomination.
When you bring a lawsuit, you need a petitioner. Like the corpse at an Irish wake, not much is expected of the petitioner, but he or she is necessary to have the party. McP pressed his old pal, Bob Krautsack, into service and I met him for the first time when he signed the Verified Petition initiating the action.
On January 17, 2012, the morning of the scheduled Executive Committee meeting, we did battle in the courtroom of newly minted Judge Tracey Bannister. She offered to recuse because she had previously worked for Ward's wife, Michele Iannello, as a legislative aid. I didn't think recusal was needed, because the case was so clear. Bad mistake. Dennis Ward appeared for the County Committee and, as is his way, lied about the meaning of the rules. To our astonishment, Bannister ruled that the Executive Committee could make the nomination and we promptly prepared to appeal.
The County Committee knew they were at risk of losing the suit, thus forfeiting the line entirely, so they had previously also scheduled a meeting of the AD-145 committeemen for two days later.
At the time, I had the misfortune of being a Zone Chairman and member of the Executive Committee , so I attended and warned of the impending crisis should the committeemen pick someone other than the anointed one, Chris Fahey. We had been in communication with sweet Tina all afternoon and had even prepared a press release for her.
Then, with no notice to her campaign team, treacherous Tina showed up at the Executive Committee meeting, profusely licking Lenihan's boots and derriere, proclaiming that she was dropping out because she didn't have the votes to get the nomination. The rest was predetermined. Fellow Zone Chairmen John Fracos (the actual Rock of Black Rock/Riverside) and Joe Mascia voted for Kearns. I abstained in deference to the committeemen meeting two days hence, and the rest of the sheeple voted for Fahey.
After the meeting, I called McParlane who was working at the jail and unable to attend the Executive Committee meeting. Dan couldn't stop yelling, "I had the f**king votes."
Kearns promptly picked up the Republican nomination and clobbered Fahey in the Special Election, with Democrats being forced to vote for their Democrat on the Republican line. Bob McCarthy and precious Tom Precious of the BNews wrote a nice story about the debacle, naming Lenihan, County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Congressman Brian Higgins, Senator Tim Kennedy, Comptroller Mark Schroeder, Conservative Chairman Ralph Lorigo, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as "losers."
So there we have it Tina Bove is the type of person who will stab you in the back if you try to hand her a gift seat on the New York State legislature. Wanna vote for her as West Seneca Town Supervisor? I wouldn't.