ALBANY—I called Vito Lopez's Assembly office to chat with him in advance of the Democratic State Committee's meeting in Buffalo tonight and tomorrow, where some county chairs have already started migrating.
I was placed on hold by an assistant as she tried to reach Mr. Lopez. She did.
"Mr. Lopez says he doesn't want to comment, because he won't be attending the meeting," the assistant said.
And why is the chairman of the largest Democratic county organization in the state (maybe the country?) skipping this convention?
The assistant did not know, and Lopez declined to take the line to explain.
Most of the state's major elected officials will be in attendance. Tom DiNapoli is hosting a reception this evening, Andrew Cuomo is hosting breakfast tomorrow and David Paterson will speak tomorrow. Kirsten Gillibrand will host a closing reception. The party is expected to install Jay Jacobs as its new chairman, in place of June O'Neill.
Lopez was a driving force behind setting up a meeting last month in Kingston between several leaders of large county organizations and the heads of several labor leaders, in which "concern" was expressed about the political strength of Paterson and others on the statewide ticket. Lopez has also been vocal in his non-endorsement of Kirsten Gillibrand.