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Flynn added to mayoral ballot; Wroblewski loses primary

At least one more candidate for mayor has qualified for the November general election ballot, while Legislator Timothy M. Wroblewski of West Seneca has lost the Democratic primary in the County Legislature's 9th District, according to the Erie County Board of Elections' latest tally.

Board officials said Charles J. Flynn won the Independence Party's mayoral primary over State Sen. Byron W. Brown, a Democrat, 135-127. The final tally was reported after officials counted all absentee and paper ballots, while the Legislature result was finalized after a count of all paper ballots used in several towns in the Sept. 13 primary when the board said it was unable to provide voting machines.

The latest result marks the second defeat for Brown on minor party lines after he was endorsed by party leaders and then defeated by the voters. Brown also lost the Conservative Party's line to Kevin J. Helfer, a Republican, after Helfer waged a campaign for write-in votes.

Flynn's win means he will appear with Brown and Helfer on the Nov. 8 ballot, injecting a new variable into the mayoral equation and raising the possibility of diffusing anti-Brown votes.

Flynn said Monday he intends to wage as full a campaign as his funding allows and is challenging the other two candidates to a series of five debates over the next six weeks. He is already deflecting criticism that his presence in the race will help Brown.

"I'm going to try [to] stay above this," he said. "I'm not in this to help or hurt Byron."

Flynn, who ran unsuccessfully in 1985 in the Conservative primary for mayor against James D. Griffin, has been appearing in local forums all summer. He has espoused an anti-gambling position that also emphasizes economic development ideas.

He is a former chairman of the Erie County Independence Party and vice chairman of the state party. That minor party background is expected to form a good deal of his platform as he offers an "independent" choice.

"This about letting the independent community come forward," he said.

Flynn, 48, acknowledges he must raise $200,000 to run a competitive campaign -- a sum even Helfer on a major line has not approached. He said he will attempt to raise the money and has been promised help by professional fund-raisers.

Still, he said he would be forced out of the race by the third week of October if he has not raised enough money to compete.

Helfer said he doesn't know whether Flynn's entrance into the race helps or hurts him.

"I still look at this as a race between myself and Byron Brown," Helfer said.

The final makeup of the mayoral ballot for the Nov. 8 general election still has not been fully determined because the board has not ruled on the independent designating petitions of potential candidates Judith S. Einach and Eric Dietz. Those decisions, far behind schedule because the board says it lacks sufficient staff to rule on challenges to signatures on the petitions, are not expected until late this week at the earliest.

The board, meanwhile, declared Cynthia Locklear, an attorney, the winner of the Democratic line on the ballot for county legislator in the 9th District, although a final tally was not available late Monday. She said she won the race as a "quality candidate with credentials and vision."

Wroblewski, who will remain on the ballot as the candidate of the Independence and Conservative parties, blamed his loss of the Democratic line on last-minute literature he branded as "lies."

"There's not a chance I'll get out of this race," he said.

The Republicans have nominated Thomas Brooks for the seat.

e-mail: rmccarthy@buffnews.com

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