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A few points to ponder while waiting for the Erie County sheriff's "imminent arrest" for ballot tampering at the Board of Elections:

* Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan headed off to Albany Thursday for meetings of the State Democratic Committee. And after top state Dems tried but failed last summer to impose peace on warring locals (in a plan that included Lenihan's ouster), we can only imagine the chairman strutting around the Desmond Hotel in Colonie.

"We're having a good time," is all Lenihan would say Thursday.

Indeed, Lenihan had just helped elect Mark Poloncarz as only the second Democrat to become Erie County executive. And Lehinhan remains alive and kicking after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top party men continue to bar him from the inner sanctum.

Lenihan said he did not "bump into" Cuomo during a reception for party leaders at the Executive Mansion on Wednesday, and the Erie County Democratic chairman was never mentioned at the pre-election rally in Amherst headlined by Cuomo. It all appears to be the price of success in Democrat Land.

* Poloncarz, meanwhile, drove with Lenihan to the state committee meeting week to make the rounds as a sudden new star among New York Democrats.

* Still on Lenihan -- he is also acting very much like a chairman on the home front. He held meetings with Democrats in the County Legislature last week to discuss reorganization and other issues -- and maybe to remind them he is still chairman, too.

* Is there any doubt that two major figures in the Western New York GOP are now County Clerk-elect Chris Jacobs and Sen. Pat Gallivan?

Jacobs and Sheriff Tim Howard now rank as the only Republicans holding countywide office. And Gallivan has never lost a race since leaving the State Police to run for sheriff back in 1997.

* Maybe that's why sources report recent friction between Gallivan and Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy over the GOP confab convened last week by Gallivan. The senator insists the meeting had no intention of engineering a coup against Langworthy, but sources report the whole idea did not fly in Republican Headquarters.

Langworthy, you recall, backed former GOP Chairman Jim Domagalski over Gallivan in a 2010 primary for the Senate.

* Erie County Conservatives report mixed results from Election 2011. They failed to pick a winner for the second county executive contest in a row after nominating Democrat Jim Keane in 2007 and Republican Chris Collins this year.

Still, Conservatives and other minor parties played a big role in the clerk's contest. Democrat Maria Whyte, for example, soundly beat Republican Jacobs in a straight Democrat to Republican contest -- 90,833 to 78,709. But Jacobs scored 17,780 on the Conservative line and another 10,212 on Independence, enough to squeak by Whyte and her 11,938 votes on the Working Families line.

* For the record, let's note that Legislator Lynne Dixon of Hamburg, a member of the Independence Party who caucuses with the Republicans, has now won two successive elections in a Democratic district. That's called cross-over appeal.

* A.J. Baynes, a registered Conservative who has helped run several local Republican campaigns, is making a name for himself after scoring victories with Howard for sheriff, Gallivan for Senate and now Jacobs for clerk.

* Strong pockets of local support are forming for Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Ron Paul, but darned if we can find a Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann supporter. For that matter, anybody know the location of Herman Cain's Erie County headquarters?

email: rmccarthy@buffnews.com