Palmer beats Reiter in Lewiston, highlighting Niagara primaries - The Buffalo News

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Palmer beats Reiter in Lewiston, highlighting Niagara primaries

LOCKPORT – The Steven L. Reiter era in Lewiston Town Hall will end Dec. 31, as the embattled supervisor was soundly defeated by Councilman Ernest C. Palmer in a Republican primary Tuesday.

Palmer's win over Reiter, who has said he is under criminal investigation by the state Attorney General's Office for alleged misuse of town gasoline in personal vehicles during his tenures as supervisor and highway superintendent, sets up a Nov. 5 contest against Village of Lewiston Trustee Dennis J. Brochey Sr.

Brochey, the endorsed Democratic candidate, turned back the challenge of town finance director and former councilman Michael A. Johnson in a Democratic primary.

Complete but unofficial returns on the Republican side showed Palmer the winner over Reiter, 434 to 347.

The Democratic tally was 527 for Brochey, 250 for Johnson.

In a letter to voters during the campaign, Palmer, the former Niagara Falls and Youngstown police chief, said he will “stress ethical accountability. As supervisor, I can assure you, my administration will not be the subject of state and federal investigations.”

Reiter is in his fourth year as supervisor and before that was highway chief for 10 years. He underwent a quadruple bypass heart operation in early July.

The county Republican organization turned to Palmer after The Buffalo News disclosed in June that the FBI, which later turned the case over to the Attorney General's Office, had questioned Reiter about a variety of alleged improprieties.

Johnson said Reiter asked him to run for supervisor on the Democratic side “because you know more about the town than anyone else.”

However, the Democratic voters preferred Brochey, a longtime auto repair shop owner who was elected to the Village Board last year.

In other races Tuesday:

County Legislature

The county's longest-serving Legislature chairman, William L. Ross of Wheatfield, beat back the challenge of Sean M. O'Laughlin of Wheatfield in a Republican primary. However, he will have to defeat O'Laughlin again in November. The challenger, a registered Republican and the nephew of former Niagara Falls Mayor Michael O'Laughlin, has the Democratic endorsement.

Ross, a registered Conservative running with GOP backing, outpolled O'Laughlin 380 to 208 in the 2nd District, which covers parts of Wheatfield and Lewiston.

In the 15th District, covering Royalton and Hartland and a slice of the Town of Lockport, Joshua D. Walker edged GOP incumbent Michael A. Hill, 28 to 25, in a Conservative primary. Walker, the grandson of Niagara County Conservative Party founder Raymond Walker and the son of former party chairman Dean Walker, also has the Democratic line for November.

City of Lockport

Fifth Ward Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick defeated former eight-term Alderwoman Phyllis J. Green in a GOP contest, 120 to 99.

However, Green, who lost a Republican primary for mayor by 25 votes two years ago, has the Democratic nod for the general election. The 5th Ward has the city's only contested election this year.

Town of Lockport

Incumbent Republican Supervisor Marc R. Smith lost a Conservative Party primary to auto repair shop owner David J. Mongielo, 37 to 21.

Mongielo, a former GOP committeeman who lost a supervisor race to Smith in 2009 and since has changed affiliation to Conservative, will be Smith's sole opponent in November, as the Democrats did not field a nominee.

For councilman, GOP voters preferred the incumbents, Mark C. Crocker and Patricia Dufour, over first-time candidate Paul R. Black.

Crocker polled 521 votes and Dufour 487, wrapping up new terms for them, since there are no Democratic candidates. Black received 228 votes.

Meanwhile, Republican Councilwoman Cheryl A. Antkowiak scored a sweep against Democrat John J. Ben in Republican, Democratic and Working Families primaries for town justice, a contest to replace the retiring Raymond E. Schilling. Antkowiak won the GOP race, 450 to 200; the Democratic race, 121 to 68; and the Working Families contest, 6 to 3.


Republican voters turned out 12-year incumbent Town Board member Robert A. Pettit, giving the nod for the two board seats to Susan L. Neidlinger and Rick Coleman.

Coleman garnered 296 votes and Neidlinger 272, while the 75-year-old Pettit trailed with 161.

Neidlinger, 57, owns Shoppe on Main and is active in business and service organizations. Coleman, 53, is chief operator and lab director of the Niagara County Water Treatment Plant, where he has worked for 33 years, and also is a past president of Miller Hose Fire Co.

North Tonawanda

The only contest was a primary for 3rd Ward alderman in the Independence Party, in which Republican incumbent Eric M. Zadzilka defeated Democratic candidate Darlene E. Bolsover, 24 to 12. The two will meet again in November.


Eileen H. Czarnecki and incumbent Edward P. Harman were the winners in the Democratic Town Board primary.

Czarnecki picked up 135 votes and Harman 116, while Aimee A. Jarvis trailed with 101.

Czarnecki, 54, serves on the town's recreation committee and business development committee. She has been an administrator with the Buffalo Public Schools for more than 30 years.

Harman, 65, the retired supervisor of biomedical engineering at Erie County Medical Center, is finishing his first four-year councilman term.

In the Conservative primary for highway superintendent, incumbent Jeffrey R. Stowell crushed Aaron J. Bair, 40 to 4. However, Bair is the endorsed Democratic nominee for the November election. Stowell has held the post for 10 years.


Town Justice David J. Truesdale faced a challenge for the first time in his 32-year career, but it worked out well for him. He got the better of Democratic attorney and Niagara Falls Fire Department battalion chief Daniel P. Boland on the Democratic line, 131 to 46; the Republican line, 316 to 27; the Conservative line, 9 to 1; the Working Families line 3 to 0; and the Independence line, 15 to 2. Boland won on the Green party line, 1 to 0.


Michael M. Flint, owner of a trucking company, won the four-way Republican primary for highway superintendent. He will have a race in November against Jonathan D. Dewart, a town water and sewer maintenance worker, who has the Conservative and Independence lines.

Flint polled 180 Republican votes to 163 for Dewart, 39 for Carl A. Austin and 17 for Louis J. Mead. The GOP did not endorse any of the contenders, deciding on an open primary to choose a successor for Kenneth J. Bigelow, who decided not to run for re-election.

News Niagara Reporter Nancy A. Fischer contributed to this report.


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