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Two registered Democrats will square off against one another Tuesday for election to a four-year term as Niagara County coroner serving North Tonawanda, Wheatfield and Pendleton.

The candidates are Leon Szczerbinski, who won the Sept. 7 Democratic primary; and Joseph V. Mantione, whose name will appear on the Republican, Independence, Liberal, Right to Life and Freedom Party lines.

Elsewhere in Niagara County, Kenneth V. Lederhouse of Lockport, a Republican, is running unopposed for re-election as coroner in his area. The county's other two coroners, James M. Joyce of Niagara Falls and Steven A. Gerhardt of Cambria, are in mid-term and their offices are not at stake in this year's election.

Szczerbinski, 42, was appointed last May to an interim term to succeed former Coroner Alfred E. Flessel, who had retired. He went on to defeat fellow Democrat Mantione in the primary election. Szczerbinski also has the Conservative Party nomination.

He has been a member of the North Tonawanda Fire Department for 17 years and is president of the North Tonawanda Professional Firefighters Association Local 1333.

Mantione, 24, works part-time at five funeral homes in Niagara and Erie counties. He has been making coroner calls for the Erie County medical examiner's office since 1993. He also has worked as a pathologist's assistant for the Niagara County coroner's office.

Both Szczerbinski and Mantione live in North Tonawanda.

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