BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo hasn't had a Republican mayor in more than four decades. But that won't deter Sergio Rodriguez.
The Republican running for mayor in the city knows he has an uphill battle, but Rodriguez says he isn't going anywhere, despite some in his own party hinting that he should throw in the towel.
"There's no one that could talk me out of it," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says some in the GOP have come to him and said he should not be running. However, he would not say who, other than to acknowledge that these Republicans are elected officials who are currently holding office.
So why does Rodriguez think some are worried about him running in the city? There's some thought that a Republican running for Buffalo mayor could energize the Democratic base, and possibly cause problems for countywide Republicans like the sheriff and comptroller.
Erie County GOP Chairman Nicholas Langworthy said, "I think we're going to win these races regardless what happens in the city."
Langworthy doesn't feel Rodriguez' run for mayor will be a factor on countywide seats, and says he doesn't know who's telling Rodriguez to step aside.
"[It] certainly hasn't been me," Langworthy said. "I haven't told him to get out of the race."
Rodriguez says he's focused on city issues like the graduation rate and crime and says he's running whether he gets GOP support in the city or not.
"Although, as faithful and loyal I've been to the party, I think these issues basically are more important than that of the long-term party objectives," Rodriguez said. "We can't afford to ignore an entire city population that's facing these issues. So instead of protecting seats, we need to worry about what we can do to better our city."
Langworthy says he respects the fact that Rodriguez has announced and considers him a friend. Does Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy Zellner see him as a factor in the coming mayoral election?
"I think we're going to have a couple of strong candidates running. It is the off year, so as I said in the past they've tried to supress the vote as much as they possibly could," Zellner said.
Rodriguez still has to get on the ballot with signatures, something he's confident he'll be able to do.
Langworthy says any endorsement for Rodriguez from the GOP would come from the city committee.
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