Share this article

print logo

Montour, Wojtaszek likely to win State Supreme Court nominations

Democrat Mark A. Montour will face Republican Paul B. Wojtaszek for State Supreme Court in November as a result of judicial nominating conventions slated for Monday, according to the chairmen of both major parties.

Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said that delegates from the eight counties of the Eighth Judicial District will convene in Democratic Headquarters on Monday and that he expects the vast majority to back Montour, a Lancaster town justice.

On the Republican side, Erie County Chairman Nicholas A. Langworthy said a similar gathering Monday at a vacant store in an Amherst plaza at Maple and North Forest roads will back Wojtaszek, a confidential law clerk to Russell P. Buscaglia, a Court of Claims judge and acting Supreme Court justice. Wojtaszek, brother of former Niagara County GOP Chairman Henry F. Wojtaszek, is also a Republican legislator in Niagara County.

Though the Erie County Democratic Party finds itself in turmoil this fall following a divisive primary election pitting two factions against each other, Zellner said he does not expect the party feud to be reflected in the judicial nominating convention.

He said that only a handful of primaries featured opposing slates to the convention and that he expects the party wing nominally headed by Cheektowaga Chairman Frank C. Max Jr. to also back Montour.

Max was unavailable to comment.

Montour previously ran in 2010 and was competitive and, according to Zellner, would be the first judge of Native American ancestry to serve in State Supreme Court if elected.

City Judge E. Jeannette Ogden also has been actively seeking the nomination, but Zellner said Montour has the votes.

“The other seven counties and I are settled on Mark Montour,” he said.

Montour already has secured the Working Families Party nomination.

Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo, meanwhile, said he will support Montour.

But it is also known that Wojtaszek could possibly garner support from some Niagara County Conservatives.

Langworthy pointed out that Wojtaszek also ran in 2010, and also finished competitively though he was unsuccessful.

Both Monjtour and Wojtaszek are competing for a vacancy stemming from the resignation earlier this year of former Justice Janice M. Rosa.

Sources close to the process point out that nominated candidates have three days after conventions to accept or decline and that the lack of some minor party lines conceivably could prompt a candidate to decline.