BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Thursday that this is the last time he will run for his position.
Poloncarz, who is campaigning for a fourth term, said Thursday that he felt his current term would be his last after he was re-elected in 2019. However, he said local events have occurred since then changed his plans.
“It was not my intention to run for a fourth term when I won last time, but I had no idea what this community would go through,” Poloncarz said.
He was sworn in for his fourth term on Jan. 1, 2020.
“And then what happened in three months? The COVID pandemic in which everything was shut down, then finally we get to a little better point and then we have the mass shooting and county government was intimately involved in the response of that,” Poloncarz said. “We go through that, it gets a little better, then we have the November superstorm, then we have the December blizzard, and then after that we’re dealing with the issues of Damar Hamlin and the impact that had on the community.”
He said that because of the major events, a lot of his goals, including the planning and approval for the new Bills stadium, had to be less of a priority. He said he had begun negotiations with the Pegula family in 2019, and the stadium was not approved until May.
“A lot of the major things I thought I was going to be able to accomplish during my third term had to be put on the backburner,” Poloncarz said. “If the people give me the opportunity to serve one more term, this will be the last time I ever run for county executive.”
Poloncarz has been the Erie County Executive since 2012 and is in his third term. Before being elected to his current role, the Democrat and Lackawanna native spent six years as the Erie County Comptroller.
He has been involved in controversy in recent months. In August, a report filed with the Buffalo Police Department alleged that he was involved in a domestic dispute that culminated in the woman screaming for help.
Poloncarz responded to the report, stating that it was a “bad breakup,” but that it did not get physical. Police said that the complainant chose not to pursue charges. In the wake of the report, several area Republicans called for his resignation.
One day before that police report was filed, he was named in a complaint filed to the Erie County Comptroller, claiming that thousands of dollars in county funds were improperly issued to Buffalo’s Italian Cultural Center. A similar complaint given to News 4 Investigates claims that the money was issued because Poloncarz was in a relationship with an official at the center.
Poloncarz will face Clarence businesswoman Chrissy Casilio in the election for Erie County Executive on Nov. 7. Poloncarz and Casilio will debate on News 4 on Oct. 24.
Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.