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More than two months after voters promoted Kathy Hochul to that new job in Washington, her old post as Erie County clerk remains vacant. And for those riding the No. 8 bus down Main Street this week, that doesn't make a particle of difference.

But some politicos remain concerned that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has yet to appoint Legislator Maria Whyte -- the Democratic candidate for clerk -- to the vacancy. That was a key element of the "grand plan" hatched by Charlie King, executive director of the state Democratic Party dispatched to Buffalo by Cuomo to impose peace in our time on warring Dems.

Whyte backers still seek that advantage to overcome the curse of city-based Democratic office-holders who usually fail on the countywide stage. She also faces a tough and well-financed opponent in Republican Chris Jacobs.

Those who know about such things say the appointment may still happen. But they also say the Whyte candidacy has failed to excite statewide honchos, while adding that appointment of an interim clerk in Erie hasn't quite topped Cuomo's to-do list.

Those same sources add that Chairman Len Lenihan's delayed departure as part of the grand plan and his approach to other situations in his last days as chairman have not helped. Those of cynical and black-hearted nature, meanwhile, point to the $100,000 contributed to the Cuomo campaign last year by Jeremy and Margaret Jacobs -- of Delaware North fame and aunt and uncle to Chris Jacobs.

* As South Buffalo's Mark Schroeder cleans out his Assembly desk while awaiting coronation as Buffalo's next comptroller, South Council Member Mickey Kearns and Lackawanna Mayor Norm Polanski are mentioned as possible successors. But Chris Fahey, an aide to Congressman Brian Higgins and part of a well-known South Buffalo family, is also laying the groundwork for an Assembly bid, according to knowledgeable sources. The bet here is that if Higgins wants Fahey to inherit his old seat in the Assembly, it will happen.

* Democratic whispers say focus groups are helping shape the county executive campaign of Mark Poloncarz against Republican incumbent Chris Collins. One conclusion is that Collins encounters problems with women, which could lead to Poloncarz ads attacking the incumbent's approach to day care and other issues.

* So you thought you heard the last of industrialist Jack Davis after he lost his third try for Congress back in May? Not as long as free trade remains an issue.

Davis is primarily financing a political action committee called the American Jobs Alliance that is already pressuring pro-trade members of Congress. Indeed, the Davis PAC last week targeted Michigan's Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with radio ads over his support of the proposed free trade pact with South Korea.

Curtis Ellis, a longtime Davis campaign aide, is running the new PAC.

* A local blogger named Chris Smith has been downright giddy in recent days criticizing The Buffalo News for reporting that SEIU Local 1199 is paying employee Jennifer Hibit to manage Poloncarz's campaign for county executive. Around here, something unusual and of interest to voters makes a good story.

But not over at WNY Media Network, where Smith toils. More important to the network, apparently, is the $3,750 Poloncarz paid to WNY Media Network for website design and video editing, according to state campaign finance records. In fact, the same records show WNY Media Network has handled Poloncarz's video campaign for years.

Some local bloggers receive money from politicians. The Politics Column does not -- and that says it all.

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com