The high-profile primary contest for the Fillmore District seat on the Buffalo Common Council between veteran Democrats David A. Franczyk and Laurence F. Adamczyk may not materialize following a ruling expected to bounce Adamczyk from the ballot -- at least for now.
Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr said no formal opinion will be issued until Friday, but he explained that the Erie County Board of Elections indicated to Adamczyk that it is bound to uphold the residency requirements of the City of Buffalo.
The ruling, expected also to gain approval from Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis E. Ward, is based on the fact that Adamczyk has not resided in the district for the year required by the City Charter and is therefore ineligible.
Adamczyk, the former Democratic elections commissioner, acknowledged the board appears to have ruled against him. But he also said he will go to court to challenge the constitutionality of the charter provision in his race against Franczyk, the longtime Fillmore Council member and Council president.
"If the board does rule against me based on residency, I will challenge it in court based on my constitutional rights and the 1,500 residents who signed petitions for my candidacy," he said. "I knew challenging a 25-year incumbent would not be easy."
Adamczyk has acknowledged he moved into his Allentown home in late November 2010 and has not lived in the district for the required year. But he has maintained that provisions of the state constitution allow for diversion from the rule in reapportionment years.
Fillmore, as a result of redistricting approved by the Council, now includes the Allentown neighborhood where Adamczyk lives.
Also in the Fillmore race, Ward said late Wednesday that board staff has preliminarily found that Samuel A. Herbert submitted only 491 valid signatures though 500 are required. He noted the board has not officially ruled and characterized the Herbert candidacy as "in limbo" until a ruling or court action makes the decision final.
At the moment, however, Wednesday's action leaves Franczyk as the only validated candidate for the Fillmore District.
In another ruling, Board of Education member Ralph R. Hernandez has withdrawn from the Niagara District race against incumbent David A. Rivera in the Democratic primary. Ward said Hernandez conceded he did not have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and informed board officials he has ended his candidacy.
The situation remains unclear in the University District, Ward said, with candidate Aaron Jackson removed by board ruling and candidate Rochelle Ricchiazzi removed by court action. He said both could regain a position on the Democratic primary ballot through litigation for the seat occupied by Bonnie E. Russell. Former Board of Education member Pamela D. Cahill also is seeking to compete in the University District.