A 15-foot-high political sign lit up 24 hours a day speaks volumes about what the hottest race is in the Town of North Collins this fall.
The highway superintendent battle between Robert P. Martin Jr., the town's appointed highway chief, and David J. Winter, president of Winter's Railroad Service in Langford, is a close one.
Winter, 49, who is making his first run for political office and won the Democratic primary by 35 votes in September, has gone all out. Throughout town, he has signs resembling yellow road hazard signs posted on 6-foot-high poles with reflective tape, as well as the largest one in front of the Langford Hotel.
Martin, 45, is a lifelong town resident who was appointed highway superintendent after Peter Loretto retired. He has the Conservative and Independence party backing and was a town councilman when the town appointed him. Martin also runs a grape farm in town.
The election slate also features a race for town supervisor between longtime incumbent Thomas R. O'Boyle, 56, running on the Democratic and Independence lines, and Judith Ann Thomas, 61, the town's 14-year tax collector, who has Republican and Conservative backing.
O'Boyle, who has been supervisor for 16 years, works at the Gowanda Correctional Facility. He is a former councilman, village mayor and fire chief. He couldn't be reached to comment.
Thomas pledged honesty and dedication if she is elected. She said she would seek to keep North Collins an affordable community and wants independent auditors to review the town's operations.
On the Town Board level, four candidates are running for two seats. Running are two-term incumbent Councilwoman Marian C. Vanni, 62, on the Democratic and Independence lines; and political newcomers Rosaline A. Seege, 48, and Michael W. Perry, 51, both on the Republican and Conservative lines. Also running is Democrat Russell J. Judson, 43, also a political newcomer.
Aside from Vanni's term being up, there is one open board seat caused when Martin was appointed highway superintendent. Vanni is a housing specialist at Belmont Shelter.
Judson, a hardware manager at Gui's Lumber, has long been active in the North Collins Volunteer Fire Co.
Perry oversees public works for the village and is a part-time police officer in Franklinville.
Seege could not be reached to comment.