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3 ex-county legislators to try comeback Political blogger also seeks seat in Erie County Hall

Three former county legislators -- George A. Holt, Albert DeBenedetti and Timothy M. Wroblewski -- are attempting political comebacks, designating petitions filed this week reveal, while a popular political blogger also seeks a seat in County Hall.

Alan J. Bedenko, an attorney and sponsor of the Buffalopundit.com blog, is a surprise candidate after filing as a Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Michael H. Ranzenhofer in the Clarence-based 4th District.

Bedenko said his blogging commentaries have immersed him in the local political scene, and he now wants to advance to the next level.

"It has obviously gotten me more and more involved in the whole game," he said Friday. "Now I think is a pretty good time to get in."

Bedenko has expressed his disapproval of "fusion" tickets that allow major party candidates to run on minor party lines, so he will run only as a Democrat.

Ranzenhofer has the Independence and Conservative lines.

Buffalo Comptroller Andrew A. SanFilippo, meanwhile, running on the Democratic line, apparently is unopposed after being elected on Republican and minor party lines in 2003. SanFilippo discussed the possibility of a GOP campaign with Buffalo Republican Chairman Dennis V. Ryan, but comptroller spokesman Tony Farina said Friday that SanFilippo will decline.

"Andy is appreciative of the Republicans considering him to be a candidate, but he has no plans to do that this year," Farina said.

SanFilippo became the first person to win the comptroller's office on the Republican line since 1963 after finishing last in the 2003 Democratic primary. But even Ryan conceded Friday that SanFilippo does not need the line this year and that his party will not oppose him.

"I have offered it to him, but I also know his situation politically," Ryan said. "He has been a friend to our party."

Many of the contestants could change in the next few days as opponents file objections and some candidates drop out. But the filings give a good overall picture of this year's candidates.

In other County Legislature races:

* District 3: Holt, a former Legislature chairman, is attempting a comeback on the Democratic line against incumbent Barbara Miller-Williams. She was appointed to the seat when Holt was ousted from his seat following a guilty plea to tax evasion.

Miller-Williams also filed on the Independence and Working Families lines. No Republican filed.

* District 6: Another comeback attempt by another former chairman -- DeBenedetti -- is under way. He filed on the Democratic line against incumbent Democrat Maria R. Whyte, who also will run on the Independence and Working Families lines. No Republican filed.

* District 9: Wroblewski will challenge incumbent Cynthia E. Locklear on the Democratic line. He also filed with Independence, Conservative and Working Families. No Republican filed.

* District 7: Dorian Gaskin and Syaed Amian Ali filed to take on incumbent Betty Jean Grant in the Democratic primary. She also will run with Independence and Working Families backing. No Republican candidate filed.

* District 8: John M. Dudziak, Deborah S. Kubiak and Joshua J. Penfold filed against incumbent Democrat Thomas J. Mazur in the Democratic primary. Nobody filed Independence petitions, but Dudziak submitted Conservative petitions and Kubiak filed on Working Families. No Republican filed.

* District 15: A rare Republican primary is shaping up for the only open legislative seat this year following the retirement of Legislator Barry A. Weinstein. Republicans Edward A. Rath and Francina J. Spoth both filed for the GOP contest, with Rath also on the Independence and Conservative lines.

Thomas R. Weisbeck is the Democratic candidate.

* District 1: Incumbent Daniel M. Kozub will run on the Democratic, Conservative and Working Families lines, while Vincent Tobia filed on the Republican. Jason C. Womer will challenge Kozub on Independence.

* District 2: Incumbent Democrat Timothy M. Kennedy filed on the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families lines. Dennis M. Marek filed as the Republican candidate.

* District 5: Incumbent Democrat Kathy Konst filed as the Democratic candidate, while Thomas R. Ulbrich submitted petitions for the Republican, Independence and Conservative lines.

* District 10: Incumbent Democrat Michele M. Inannello filed on the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families lines, while Rus Thompson submitted petitions for the Republicans.

* District 11: Legislature Chairwoman Lynn M. Marinelli will run again, but will be challenged on the Democratic line by Joel Feroleto, a former Common Council aide. Joseph Kennedy, who said he was running after challenging Marinelli in 2005, did not file.

Marinelli also will run on the Conservative, Independence and Working Families lines, while Ernest J. Norman filed as the Republican.

* District 12: Incumbent Democrat Robert B. Reynolds Jr. filed on the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families lines, while James A. Liegl will be the Republican candidate.

* District 13: John J. Mills will be on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, while Suzann M. Cushman filed as the Democratic and Working Families candidate.

* District 14: Thomas A. Loughran filed as the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families candidate, while Bradley W. Rowles submitted Republican petitions.

On the judicial front, both Democrat Tim Franczyk and Republican Molly Gondek Musarra "cross-filed" for Erie County Court, allowing each to run in both Democratic and Republican primaries, as is allowed by law for County Court. Franczyk was appointed to a County Court vacancy earlier this year by Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer. City Court Judge James A.W. McLeod will compete against Franczyk and Musarra in the Democratic primary.

Musarra and Franczyk will compete in the Conservative and Independence primaries, too.

A primary is also developing for Buffalo City Court, where incumbent Democrat Betty Calvo-Torres will be challenged on the Democratic line by Emilia Rodriguez. Calvo-Torres also submitted on the Independence and Conservative lines.

Christopher M. Duggan is the Republican candidate.

In the Buffalo Common Council, these Democratic primaries are looming:

* Delaware: Incumbent Michael J. LoCurto against Jessica Maglietto on the Democratic line. LoCurto has the Independence line, while Charles V. Panzarella has Conservative and Republican.

* Ellicott: Incumbent Democrat Brian C. Davis will face Byron J. McIntyre on the Democratic line. Davis has Independence while McIntyre has Conservative and Working Families. There is no Republican candidate.

* Fillmore: Samuel A. Herbert will challenge incumbent David A. Franczyk on the Democratic line. Franczyk has Independence and Conservative. Nicholas A. Caetano is the GOP candidate.

* Lovejoy: Incumbent Democrat Richard A. Fontana has the Democratic, Independence and Conservative lines; Richard M. Gattone is the Republican candidate.

* Masten: A three-way Democratic primary is shaping up featuring incumbent Democrat Demone A. Smith, Dwayne A. Ferguson and Melissa R.H. Brown. Smith is the Independence and Conservative candidate, while no Republican filed.

* Niagara: A serious battle is shaping up between Peter J. Savage III and David A. Rivera on the Democratic line after another Democrat -- Judith Einach -- dropped out earlier this week. Sergio R. Rodriguez is the Republican candidate. Rivera has Independence and Working Families while Savage has Conservative.

* University: Incumbent Democrat Bonnie E. Russell filed on the Democratic, Independence and Conservative lines, while Chris W. Brown submitted on the Republican.

Joseph Golombek Jr. is unopposed in North, as is Michael P. Kearns in South.

There were no surprises for county executive as James P. Keane and Paul T. Clark filed for the Democratic primary for county executive. Keane has Conservative and Working Families, while Clark has Independence. Christopher C. Collins filed on Republican.

For county clerk, Kathleen Courtney Hochul filed on the Democratic, Independence, Conservative and Working Families lines. William A. O'Loughlin filed on Republican.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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