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WHELAN EXIT PUTS PRESSURE ON MASIELLO AND TRAMMELL

City Comptroller Robert E. Whelan's withdrawal as a candidate for mayor of Buffalo increases the pressure on two other Democratic mayoral contenders to drop from the race, many politicians agree.

One of the mayoral aspirants, State Sen. Anthony M. Masiello, is reassessing his candidacy and may withdraw by the end of the week, according to political sources.

But the other, Wilbur P. Trammell, a former chief judge of City Court, shrugged off any suggestion that he would terminate his campaign for the Democratic mayoral nomination.

Trammell said he was "elated that Bob Whelan is out of the race, because a lot of his people have indicated they will now support me."

In another development, Mayor Griffin received and accepted the endorsement of the Erie County Conservative Party Tuesday evening.

The party's Executive Committee also endorsed Sheriff Thomas Higgins for re-election and gave its backing to Common Council incumbent Norman Bakos of the Lovejoy District and two challengers for Common Council seats, Mark Pasternak, an enrolled Conservative, in the Delaware District, and former Fillmore Council Member Stephen J. Godzisz, who announced Tuesday he will try to regain the seat held by Democrat David A. Franczyk.

The only close contest for the party's endorsement came in the county's 14th Legislative District, where challenger Dennis Ward was given the nod over incumbent William A. Pauly, R-Amherst. Another challenger who got the party's backing was Louis Corrigan, who is trying to unseat County Legislator William F. Robinson, D-Buffalo.

Two incumbent county legislators also were endorsed: Edward J. Kuwik, D-Lackawanna, in the 1st District, and Michael A. Fitzpatrick, D-Buffalo, in the 2nd District.

With the exception of Pasternak, all of the candidates endorsed by the Conservative Party are Democrats.

Vincent J. Sorrentino, the county's Democratic chairman, promised renewed efforts to achieve what he calls the "best-case scenario" to elect a new mayor -- a campaign between just two candidates, Assemblyman William B. Hoyt and Mayor Griffin.

Hoyt is the endorsed candidate of the Democratic and Liberal parties. Griffin will have the support of the Republican and Right to Life parties as well as the Conservative Party.

North Council Member David P. Rutecki, a supporter of Hoyt, said he is hopeful that Masiello and Trammell would "look at the ultimate goal to elect a new mayor" and make the same decision as Whelan.

Masiello was in Albany on Tuesday and could not be reached to comment.

Whelan announced Tuesday that he was throwing his support to Hoyt in the interest of party unity and to improve the chances of electing a new mayor. Whelan declined to rule out the possibility of his running for State Supreme Court this year.

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