BUFFALO, N.Y. -- This week some voters have received robocalls asking for opinions on the job performance of current Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and who they would prefer in a county executive's race next year between him and current Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs.
GOP analyst Jeff Williams said he's aware of the poll, although he's not sure who is behind it.
"I don't think it's too early to think about the county executive race," Williams said. "I think now is the time."
So far, nobody Spectrum News 1 has reached out to, including Jacobs, Poloncarz and both local parties have taken credit for the robocall. Williams said it would make sense for candidates to want to test the field.
"I think Republicans have a pretty deep bench," Williams said. "I think there are a lot of candidates who would like to take on the county executive and if I'm Chris and I'm looking for my next step, I would be in the field right now doing that."
In a statement, Jacobs said he would "always give serious consideration to any opportunity to serve" the community. Earlier this year, he became one of the first Republicans in Congress to speak out in favor of some gun reforms, including an assault weapons ban.
He quickly lost party support and decided to drop plans to run for another term. Williams said those same issues could submarine a county executive candidacy as well.
"I hope things have settled down for him, but I don't know if internally things have settled down for him within the party itself and I think if there was a Republican primary and there were multiple candidates — which it seems right now there may be or a fight for the nomination to run for county executive — I think Chris has a pretty high hill to climb," he said.
The analyst said if Jacobs can climb that hill, however, his now-enhanced reputation as a moderate could make him an attractive candidate in a general election. There's also the question of whether Poloncarz will seek a fourth term.
Williams believes it could depend on who wins the governor's race. If it's Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul, there could be a job waiting but a win by Republican Lee Zeldin would take away that landing spot.
"That's where three-term county executives end up, usually in the administration of a newly reelected governor," he said.