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ERIE DEMOCRATS ARE PRIMED FOR PRIMARIES BIGGEST PARTY BATTLE COULD PIT GRIFFIN AGAINST GORSKI IN COUNTY EXECUTIVE RACE

Democratic leaders are getting ready for several primary contests as they prepare for Erie County's 1991 political campaign.

County executive, county surrogate judge, comptroller and Buffalo Common Council president are shaping up as major battlegrounds.

Democratic primaries also are expected for the County Legislature and Family Court and in Buffalo for City Court and at-large and district seats on the Council.

The biggest Democratic family fight would occur if Mayor Griffin challenges County Executive Gorski, who will be seeking a second term.

Another major primary could pit Family Court Judge John F. O'Donnell against Surrogate Joseph S. Mattina, who will be running for re-election.

Mattina, a Republican, stands a good chance of receiving a Democratic cross-endorsement.

But O'Donnell, a Democrat who says he expects to be a candidate, could challenge Mattina in both major party primaries.

Griffin says he will decide by February or March whether to run against Gorski.

If the mayor runs, it would be his second quest for county executive. Griffin unsuccessfully challenged Allen E. Dekdebrun, the endorsed candidate, in the 1975 Democratic primary for county executive.

Dekdebrun, then Amherst town supervisor, lost the general election to the Republican incumbent, Edward V. Regan, now state comptroller.

Democrats also face primary contests for these offices next year:

Buffalo city comptroller: Joel A. Giambra, the Democratic incumbent, may be challenged by David B. Kelly, a deputy county clerk and a member of the Buffalo Board of Education. Giambra was appointed interim comptroller early this year and retained the job in the Nov. 6 election. The office will be filled for a full, four-year term next year.

Council president: George K. Arthur, the Democratic incumbent who is expected to seek another term, has at least three potential opponents: Council Majority Leader Eugene M. Fahey, Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk and either James W. Comerford or John C. Doyle, both members of the Buffalo Board of Education.

Comerford and Doyle are aligned politically with Griffin, while Fahey has ties to both the mayor's camp and the Democratic organization.

Buffalo Council member at-large:
All three seats will be on the ballot. The incumbents are Rosemarie LoTempio, Clifford Bell and Fahey.

Among the possible Democratic primary challengers are James P. Keane, county commissioner of emergency services and a former majority leader of the Council, and Bonnie Stolarski, a former county legislator and Fillmore Council member.

District Common Council member: All nine seats will be filled in the election, and Democratic primaries are expected in most districts.

Meanwhile, Republicans will be trying to win a seat on the all-Democratic Council, something they haven't done since 1981 when they re-elected the late William L. Marcy Jr. in the Delaware District.

All 17 seats on the County Legislature will be filled next year. The Legislature has 11 Democrats and six Republicans.

County legislators and district Council members in Buffalo will be running in new districts next year. Both legislative bodies must be reapportioned on the basis of 1990 federal census figures before the next election.

Three State Supreme Court judgeships in the 8th Judicial District, plus one seat on the Erie County Family Court and two on the Buffalo City Court also will be filled.

Two seats are held by Justices John H. Doerr, a Buffalo Democrat and member of the Appellate Division, and Joseph J. Ricotta, a Dunkirk Republican, both of whom reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 next year.

The other seat is occupied by Norman J. Wolf Jr., a Lancaster Republican who is expected to be a candidate for re-election.

In Family Court, Judge Victor A. Manz will reach the mandatory retirement age next year.

The City Court seats to be filled are held by Democrat John A. Ramunno, who will be 70 next year, and Republican Joseph D. Figliola, a Republican who is expected to run for another term.

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