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ROSS WILL APPARENTLY WIN GOP LINE BY DEFAULT

County Legislator William L. Ross will probably end up on the Republican line even without the party's endorsement, it appeared Wednesday.

The Niagara County GOP committee did not make an endorsement Wednesday in Wheatfield's 8th District, which Ross, a Conservative Party member, has represented for four years with GOP backing.

However, party Chairman Henry F. Wojtaszek said he is not actively recruiting anyone else to carry the Republican banner.

"Bill's a strong candidate, strong-willed. He has his Wheatfield (Republican) committee strongly behind him," Wojtaszek said after the meeting in the South Lockport Fire Company hall.

Ross had been invited to make his case for endorsement before the committee, but Wednesday afternoon he issued a statement that he wasn't going to attend.

"I'm more interested in campaigning against my opponent (Democrat Gerald McCormick) than creating division in the Niagara County Republican Party," Ross said. "The county Republican chairman and I have different views on a few issues, but we both have the common objective of winning the Republican majority in the County Legislature."

Ross will run on the Conservative line and said he intends to circulate "opportunity to ballot" petitions to try to win the GOP line in a write-in primary if he is not authorized to carry Republican nominating petitions.

Wojtaszek has said he won't sign such an authorization, but said he intends to meet with Wheatfield GOP chairman James Heuer in the next two weeks to settle the issue.

The main disagreement with Ross was over his March 27 vote against the Republican-engineered firing of two Democrats from the Industrial Development Agency board of directors.

Two Democratic legislators voted with eight Republicans to approve the dismissals.

One of those Democrats, Kyle R. Andrews of Wilson, apparently will have a free ride to re-election, as the GOP committee voted Wednesday to authorize him to run on the Republican line. Andrews was previously endorsed by the Democrats.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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