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Tramont takes reins to revitalize GOP

After failing to gain ground in last fall's elections, the Ken-Ton Republican Committee is using this year's lull to regroup.

Leading the effort is new committee Chairman Mark C. Tramont, a businessman who was unsuccessful in his November bid to unseat Tonawanda Town Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana.

"The reason I have taken over is to look at revitalizing the party," Tramont said in an interview.

With the exceptions of the town highway superintendent and a town justice -- both of whom were cross-endorsed by the local Democratic Committee -- no Republicans were victorious in the 2011 elections in Tonawanda or the Village of Kenmore.

In fact, the Ken-Ton GOP endorsed a Democrat in the town clerk's race. And it failed to hold a caucus before village elections, leaving three Republican candidates to create their own party to get on the ballot.

In the 2007 village elections, the Republican Committee didn't run any candidates.

This year, there are no village or town races, so Tramont wants to get to work.

"We never look at the midyear as the year we have to do a tuneup. This is going to be our tuneup year," he said.

Tramont said he'll be looking at what has been done in the past, where the party needs to be in the future and identifying the problems.

"Nothing is sacred," Tramont said.

What happened to the Republican Party in Ken-Ton?

Tramont points to events on a national level, particularly the fervor surrounding the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. Voter enrollment also has changed, he noted.

Democrats have outnumbered Republicans in enrollment in the town since 1998. But the gap has widened from a few hundred voters that year to a little more than 6,000 in 2011, according to the Erie County Board of Elections.

Republicans hold the edge in enrollment in just 11 of the 87 election districts in the Ken-Ton community. With committee membership at about 70, there are dozens of vacancies, Tramont said.

"Our first activity is going to be to reach out to the community for those people who are interested in getting involved" as committee members or candidates, said Tramont, who is looking to develop a four-year plan to get through the next two election cycles.