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Sedita endorsed by GOP for DA; Democrat appears guaranteed winner

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, a Democrat, has won the Republican Party leadership's unanimous endorsement for re-election.

The endorsement virtually guarantees him a second consecutive four-year term as the county's chief prosecutor.

Republican County Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy and Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan both praised the endorsement in almost the same words Sunday.

Langworthy said the district attorney was the most nonpolitical and nonpartisan official he knew. "He always calls his shots right down the middle," Langworthy said.

In a separate telephone interview, Lenihan said the bipartisan endorsement was "a good decision, well deserved because Mr. Sedita is very well respected for his 'no holds barred' administration of the District Attorney's Office."

Lehihan said Sedita is a man of "true and honest judgment, and I commend the Republican Party for its good judgment in endorsing him."

Sedita told The Buffalo News on Sunday he was "honored, heartened and humbled" by the Republican endorsement.

The district attorney is the only Democrat among eight candidates for various offices endorsed by the GOP county executive committee at a meeting over the weekend. Langworthy said all seven of the other candidates are Republicans.

Sedita previously was endorsed by the Democratic, Conservative and Working Families parties. Even though he likely will have no major opponent in the November election, he said he would make several campaign appearances.

"I still am answerable to the public as a public servant," Sedita said.

The district attorney said last week's not-guilty verdict on all felony counts in the high-profile trial of Dr. James G. Corasanti in the hit-and-run death of skateboarder Alexandria "Alix" Rice apparently played little or no role in the GOP endorsement.

"Of course, I am disappointed in the verdict in that trial," Sedita said. "I believed the evidence we had of guilt was overwhelming. But you have to remember that we have a very high conviction rate among the thousands of cases that we have prosecuted successfully. I don't know of a district attorney anywhere who has a conviction rate of 100 percent."

Political insiders had speculated that Sedita would win the Republican leadership's support because of the difficulty in electing a Republican to countywide office in heavily Democratic Erie County, especially during a presidential election year that is expected to attract a strong turnout among Democratic voters.

Sedita is the grandson of a former Buffalo mayor and the son of a former justice of State Supreme Court, all of the same name.

The GOP executive committee met Saturday in Pvt. Leonard Post Jr. Post 6251, Veterans of Foreign Wars, at 2450 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga. The executive committee's action was final, and it does not have to be referred to the party's full county committee for ratification.

In other business at its meeting, the Republican executive committee endorsed:

*Former County Executive Chris Collins for Congress in the 27th District, now represented by Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul.

*Michael H. Madigan, a senior program manager for Life Technologies, a global biotechnology company, for Congress in the 26th District, now represented by Rep. Brian Higgins.

*State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan for re-election in the 59th District.

*State Sen. Mark Grisanti for re-election in the 60th District.

*State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer for re-election in the 61st District.

*Former television news broadcaster Stefan Mychajliw for Erie County comptroller, a position now held by Democrat David J. Shenk, who is filling out the unexpired term of Mark C. Poloncarz, now county executive. Mychajliw has served as spokesman for the Buffalo School District and runs his own public relations agency.

*Kevin Carter for re-election as a judge in Erie County Family Court.