Intraparty politics has never been a primary concern in West Seneca's Republican Party.
In fact, as far back as observers can remember, there has never been a Republican Party primary for supervisor.
That will change on Tuesday, though, as businessman William P. Malczewski takes on the endorsed Republican candidate, Adrian J. Para, for the right to face Democratic incumbent Paul T. Clark in the general election.
Para was endorsed at the end of May, while Malczewski entered the race in late June, as his second three-year term on the West Seneca School Board ended.
The race was fairly quiet until two weeks ago, when West Seneca Councilman Jerry Hicks, who is endorsed by both the Republicans and Democrats in this November's election, put an ad in the West Seneca Pennysaver attacking Malczewski and attempting to link him with the Erie County Democratic leadership.
Para's opponents, meanwhile, have criticized him for what they call a noncampaign, with so few signs and little activity that they suggest his only purpose in running was to give incumbent Clark a token opponent.
The result has been increasing rancor in a race that features two candidates with similar tax-cutting platforms, but very different approaches.
Para, 45, is a truck driver and maintenance worker in Erie County's Public Works Department. A Buffalo native and Emerson Vocational High School graduate, he has lived in West Seneca for more than 10 years and worked for the county for 20 years. He's single.
Malczewski, 41, is one of the owners of Hector's Hardware, running the local chain's store on Clinton Street in Buffalo. He and his wife, Maryann, are the parents of three and have been West Seneca residents for 16 years. A Buffalo native, he is a graduate of Hutchinson-Central Technical High School and is a lector at Queen of Heaven Parish. He also served as president of the East Clinton Businessmen's Association and was on the board of directors of Villa Maria College.
Malczewski says that even though taxes have remained static (an average increase of 1 percent over the past seven years), more has to be done.
"I think it's possible to do more, and we have to do more, or we're going to have more of an exodus from Erie County," he said. "Young families can't afford to live in the area. . . . Being frozen is fine, but we have to lower them."
Malczewski said one of his other goals is to increase public access to Town Hall, perhaps by expanding hours to include some nights or by holding forums with community groups.
Para said one of his main concerns is the buildings and grounds department. "I want to look at the maintenance," he said. "I notice they have an awful lot of people working in buildings and grounds, in public works. I'd like to do some overall cutting, see what the situation is there, whether they have too many or not enough."
The biggest question with Para, though, has been, "Where is he?" While Malczewski signs can be seen throughout West Seneca, Para's advertising has been minimal. According Malczewski, when Para appeared at a Republican Party fund-raiser, he wasn't even introduced to the crowd.
"I think it's unfair and scandalous for the Republican Party and the people who belong to it because he's not campaigning," Malczewski said. "There's no signs. There's no literature. No door to door. No appearances I know of."
Para contends he's been active, though, through activities such as attending fund-raisers. He said a mailing is being sent out and a phone bank is going into action to urge voters to support him.