Candidates in Nov. 5 elections widen leads as absentee ballots counted - The Buffalo News

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Candidates in Nov. 5 elections widen leads as absentee ballots counted

The outcome of the Nov. 5 elections changed little Tuesday after the absentee ballots were opened and counted for five suburban races still hanging in the balance.

Those leading on Election Day in Amherst, Hamburg, Orchard Park, the City of Tonawanda and Newstead were either declared winners or maintained a large enough lead that victory is all but official.

That means Hamburg Supervisor Steven J. Walters would get another term in office.

And it appears challenger Patrick J. Keem would take over as supervisor in Orchard Park in January.

Two candidates were officially declared winners, after all the votes were counted Tuesday at the Erie County Board of Elections.

Democrat Jackie A. Smilinich – who has been clinging to a one-vote lead in the race for the Second Ward in the City of Tonawanda – ended up defeating Republican Jonathan R. Juliano by a dozen votes.

Smilinich won 437 to 425, according to the official tally by the board of elections.

In Newstead, Democrat Michael C. Bassanello won the highway superintendent’s race by 40 votes, beating Republican John P. Jendrowski Jr. by a margin of 1,156 to 1,116.

In Amherst, Hamburg and Orchard Park, there are still a handful of votes left to count, but the absentee ballots opened Tuesday gave a clearer picture of the winners.

“There aren’t any large chunks of votes left in those towns,” said Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward. “The remaining uncounted ballots cannot affect the outcome of these races.”

Walters’ challenger, Walter Rooth III, was down by 158 votes on Election Day, and only picked up 16 votes on Walters when the 454 absentee ballots were counted Tuesday, according to the board of elections.

Likewise, Orchard Park Supervisor Janis A. Colarusso was losing by 132 votes to the Republican Keem on Election Day. Keem stretched his lead by another 20 votes Tuesday, after the 262 absentee ballots were counted.

In Amherst, Republican Councilmember Steven D. Sanders and Democrat Ramona D. Popowich grabbed the two seats in the tight four-way race for Amherst Town Board, according to the unofficial results.

They were the top two vote-getters on Election Day, with Sanders comfortably ahead, and that held true after the 2,186 absentee ballots were counted Tuesday. Popowich fended off fellow Democrat Patricia S. Dunne by 121 votes and Republican Howard Cadmus by 244 votes.


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