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GOP endorsing election hopefuls

The Town of Tonawanda Republican Committee already has begun endorsing candidates for November's races, even though this year's political calendar has yet to be released by the state Board of Elections.

Voters will cast ballots for town supervisor, clerk and highway superintendent. Also up for grabs are a seat on the Town Board -- Daniel J. Crangle's term is expiring -- and one on the Town Court, currently held by Mark Gruber.

This month, the Republican Committee announced it's endorsing Gruber for re-election to a second term.

And Mark C. Tramont, business development manager for Parkview Health Services, is the party's choice for town supervisor. It's his first bid for public office, although he was mentioned as a possible candidate in last year's race for the 28th Congressional District.

"Job creation, helping small business and growing Western New York's economy needs to be our town supervisor's main focus, rather than protecting the political status quo," said Tramont, who attends Town Board meetings regularly and speaks out on many issues.

Incumbent Town Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana, a retired teacher, is finishing his first term in office. Though his party affiliation is listed as "blank" in voter registration records, Caruana received the endorsement of the Democratic, Conservative, Independence and Working Families parties in the 2007 elections.

"I am not a candidate at this time," Caruana said. "Right now my main job is to run the town as the supervisor."

Caruana will have the backing of the town's Democratic Committee if he decides to seek re-election, committee Chairman John Crangle said Tuesday.

"What we like about Tony [is] he puts the community first," Crangle said.

The Democratic Committee doesn't base endorsements solely on a candidate's political affiliation, Crangle said. "We have always put the community first," he said.

As an example, Crangle cited Bill Swanson, a registered Republican and longtime Highway Department employee, whom the Town Board will appoint as highway supervisor Monday.

Swanson will succeed fellow Republican Brad Rowles, who is retiring from the Town of Tonawanda to become North Tonawanda's public works superintendent. The remaining two years on Rowles' term will be up for election this fall.

"I think his experience and knowledge is unmatched by anybody in recent years," Crangle said of Swanson. "We couldn't be happier to endorse his candidacy."

The rest of the Democratic Committee's endorsements will be announced in May. "There's no hurry to get into it right now," Crangle said.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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