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Two Chautauqua races hold key to control

The balance of power on the Chautauqua County Legislature is still up in the air, with two races too close to call.

Democrats have a tentative 13-12 majority, dependent on incumbent David Wilder, District 4, and Thomas DeJoe, District 23, hanging onto their leads.

Chuck Cornell, the Legislature's current majority leader, who won his race handily over the GOP's endorsed candidate, Doug Champ, said absentee ballots still out could shift the outcome of the races in districts 4 and 23.

Wilder, of Silver Creek, leads Republican Louis Pelletter by 11 votes. DeJoe, of Brocton, leads Republican Harold Smith by 14.

There were some surprises in the election, especially in southern Chautauqua County.

In District 8, former Democratic Majority Leader Bob Anderson was defeated by the Rev. Ron Lemon, running as an Independent, 763-570. Lemon, a Frewsburg-area pastor, was endorsed by the GOP.

In District 18, Dr. Rudy Mueller, a local physician, handily defeated GOP incumbent Lou Drago of Lakewood, 651-429.

In a Jamestown-area race, Democrat Charles Nazzaro defeated Jim Ventura, 544-491, in District 16.

Meanwhile, the Chautauqua County Board of Elections on Wednesday continued its Election Day wind-down, collecting election materials from inspectors and gauging Tuesday's turnout.

Republican Elections Commissioner Terry Niebel said the board will continue to receive absentee ballots until later this month.

"Regular absentees can continue to come in . . . until [Tuesday]. Military absentees can come in until Nov. 19."

Friday, Niebel said, a recanvassing team will examine all the counters on the voting machines for final numbers.

Up-to-date results countywide are available at

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