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Voter's guide to Erie County's suburban races

A guide to Erie County's suburban elections. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.


NOTES: Click on names for information submitted by candidates or videos. Elect 1 candidate unless otherwise noted in parentheses.

Key races by town in Erie County:
Alden |
Amherst |
Aurora |
Boston |
Brant |
Buffalo |
Cheektowaga |
Clarence |
Colden |
Collins |
Concord |
Eden |
Elma |
Evans |
Grand Island |
Hamburg |
Holland |
Kenmore |
Lackawanna |
Lancaster |
Marilla |
Newstead |
North Collins |
Orchard Park |
Sardinia |
City of Tonawanda |
Town of Tonawanda |
Wales |
West Seneca

Party endorsement key: D: Democratic, R: Republican, C: Conservative, CI: Colden Integrity, I - Independence, PP – The People, SU – Sunshine, WF - Working Families

(i)= Incumbent


Town Supervisor

Harry F. “Bud” Milligan (i) R,C,I

Town Board (elect 2)
Mary Riddoch (i) R,C,I
Ralph P. Witt R,C

What to know: Councilman William Weber passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 9, leaving the board with only two members until Jan. 1. Weber was running to retain his seat on the board unopposed at the time of his death. Alden Town Clerk Ralph Witt, who had been planning to retire from his position as Dec. 31, was asked to run in Weber’s place, and agreed to do so. He will begin his term on Jan. 1.

Town Clerk
Debra A. Crist D,R,C,I

Highway Superintendent
Gary D. Wagner D,R,C,I


Mark A. Manna, D, C, WF
Barry A. Weinstein (i), R, I

Board (elect 2)
Howard Dunning Cadmus, R, I
Patricia S. Dunne, D, C, WF
Ramona D. Popowich, D, C, WF
Steven D. Sanders (i), R, I

Kara A. Buscaglia, D, C, I, WF
Barbara S. Nuchereno, R


Losers in Aurora GOP primary will abandon campaigns (Oct. 21)

Town Supervisor

James Bach R, C

What to know: Board incumbent James Bach, deputy supervisor with four years service on the board and owner of Bach’s Towing, is running unopposed for the two-year supervisor now held by Supervisor Jolene Jeffe, who is running for a seat on the Board.

“I want to continue on the path of fiscal responsibility that this board has been doing,” he said. “I’d also like to see us get out of the water business, turning our water districts over to Erie County. We are in the process of doing that now.”

Town Board (elect 2)
Susan Friess R, C
Jolene Jeffe R, C
David Majka, I
Christopher Lane, I

What to know: Incumbents Susan Friess, trying for her second four-year term, and Jolene Jeffe, who served two supervisor terms, joined Bach in the primary campaign and won after a heated contest with criticisms about delays in bridge and culvert repair and complaints about the town’s failure save on interest and refinance water debt before rates went up. Challengers David Majka and Christopher Lane, who were endorsed by the Republican Committee, suspended their campaigns.

Town Clerk
Martha Librock (i) R
Colleen Siener D, WF

What to know: Incumbent Town Clerk Martha Librock, who served 15 years, is running for a four-year term. She won the Republican primary and was endorsed by the Republican Committee. Colleen Siener, also a registered Republican lost her primary bid, but has continued her campaign as the Democrat and Working Family candidate.

Both women advocated putting more information and services, including a tax payment system, online. Siener, who has a degree in paralegal studies, wants to offer weekend and evening hours and update the office, putting permits and license applications online. “I really want to focus on friendly customer service,” Siener said. 
Librock, who spent most of her career with the town, says she will use grant money to move more town records to town offices at Southside Municipal Center. “The retrieval of the records will be much, much easier,” she said. “I love helping people.”


Town Supervisor

Martin A. Ballowe (i) R, I, C, WF
Gary E. Vara D

What to know: Battles between the town board and local fire departments have marked the Democratic slate, led by Supervisor candidate Gary E. Vara, who is taking on the Republican team, led by Supervisor Martin A. Ballowe. The incumbent supervisor is seeking his second term, citing his decreases in the town’s tax rate each year of his first term.

Town Board (elect 2)
Jay P. Boardway (i) R, WF, I
Jeffrey A. Genzel (i) R, C, WF, I
JoAnne M. Bonsack D
Heidi M. Higgins D, C

What to know: Incumbents Jay P. Boardway and Jeffrey A. Genzel look to continue as a team with Ballowe for a second term. Heidi M. Higgins and JoAnne M. Bonsack would like to join Vara as the town’s new Democratic-led team, with the hopes of gaining majority control and having a greater say in town issues. Boardway and Genzel hope to continue a pattern of saving taxpayers money by reducing tax rates and cutting costs in town departments.

Town Justice
Debra K. Bender D, R, C, WF, I


Town Supervisor
Leonard K. Pero (i) R, C, I, TP
Donald L. Clark D, WF

What to know: Incumbent Supervisor Leonard K. Pero is looking to stave off a challenge from Donald L. Clark. Pero and Clark have both cited having an open government as a major reason why they are seeking the town’s top post. Clark would like to see more participation from residents at town board meetings.

Town Board (elect 2)
Jeffrey W. Gier (i) R, C, I
Paulette R. Renaldo D, WF
Daniel B. Kujawinski D, WF
Mark J. DeCarlo R, C, I
Terry L. Caber TP

What to know: Five candidates will be seeking two seats on the board. Jeffrey W. Gier is the only incumbent seeking reelection as a councilman, meaning there will be at least one new member of the board beginning Jan. 1.

Town Justice
Debra A. Ritz D, WF, I, G
Clark H.Borngraber R, C
What to know: Incumbent Debra A. Ritz looks to retain her seat as Brant Town Justice in a race with current Councilman Clark H. Borngraber, with a four-year term on the line.


City Court Judge (elect 2)
Debra L. Givens (i) D, R, C, WF, I
Kevin J. Keane (i) D, R, C, WF, I
What to know: The two judges would serve 10-year terms.

Byron W. Brown D, C, WF, I
Sergio R. Rodriguez R, PR

What to know: Byron W. Brown is seeking a third four-year term, and has run on a platform of “progress,” anchored by development downtown and on the medical campus, while Sergio R. Rodriguez, who has never held elected office but has run an energetic campaign, has said he would seek control of city schools and would increase the number of foot patrols by police officers. 
Brown is heavily favored to win, and has spent $1.21 million, while Rodriguez has spent $20,991.


Board (elect 3)
Diane M. Benczkowski, D
Nicole M. Gawel, R, I
Stanley J. Kaznowski III (i), C, WF
Richard J. Maisano, R, I, WF
Roger R. McGill Jr., R, I
Timothy J. Meyers, D
James P. Rogowski (i), D, C, WF


Town Board (elect 2)
Tracy L. Francisco D
Peter T. DiCostanzo (i) R, C, I
Patrick W. Casilio (i) R, C, I
What to know: Democrat Francisco faces a big challenge running in this GOP town against two veteran councilman seeking reelection. DiCostanzo, a certified public accountant, has been on the board since Jan. 2008. Casilio, chief executive officer of Casilio Cos., a real estate and construction company, has been a councilman since 2006.

Highway Superintendent
James A. Dussing R
What to know: Dussing, a longtime employee in the town’s Highway Department, was backed by town Republicans, after the death of Highway Superintendent Theodore Donner in August.



James P. DePasquale, D, R, I
Annie M. Hoffman (i), C, CI

Board (elect 2)
David J. Arcara (i), R, C, I
Ronald R. Fraser, D, I
Jesse M. Hrycik, R, C
Patrick C. Murphy (i), D, CI
Jennifer L. Okal, C, I

Highway superintendent
Paul J. Clarkson (i), D, R, C, I
John J. Peplin Jr., CI


Town Supervisor 
David F. Tessmer (i) R, C, I

Town Board (elect 2)
Mary A. Clark (i) R, C, I
Janet L. Vogtli, R, C, I

Town Clerk
Dawn M. Spires D, C
Becky Jo Summers (i) R

What to know: Incumbent Town Clerk Becky Jo Summers is being challenged by Dawn Spires, a paralegal. No pressing issues were brought forth, but the opposition said it is time for new ideas by new people.

Town Justice
Norman J. Peters (i) D, R, WF
Brian D. Gernatt C, I 
What to know: Brian Gernatt is challenging incumbent Town Justice Norman Peters, with the issue centering around the incumbent’s availability to arraign suspects.

Highway Superintendent
Dennis M. Jensen (i) R, C, I


Town Supervisor
Gary Eppolito (i) R, C, I

Town Board (elect 2)
James Krezmien (i) R, C, I
Clyde Drake R, C, I
What to know: Drake is running for the seat of William Snyder who is not seeking re-election.

Town Clerk
Darlene Schweikert (i) R, C, I

Highway Superintendent
Dennis Dains (i) R, C, I

Town Assessor
Dan Martin R, C, I
What to know: Martin was appointed to the town assessor post in September to fill the unexpired term of William Nellis who retired.

Local Proposition: Increase the maximum number of eligible years in the Length of Service Awards Program for volunteer firefighters from 20 to 30 years at no additional cost, effective Jan. 1, 2014. (Town of Concord residents only)


Town Board (elect 2) 
Mary Lou Pew (i) D, C, WF 
Richard S. Ventry (i) R, C 
Alfredo Carias Jr. D

What to know: Mary Lou Pew and Richard S. Ventry, who have served a combined six terms on the Eden Town Board, look to continue for another four years. The incumbents aim to streamline Eden town government in different ways, including updates to the website to make it more interactive and informative, and discussing keeping town hall open late one day a week. Challenger Alfredo Carias Jr. believes it is a good idea to add new ideas to the board and said if elected, one of the first issues he would review is water districts and its financial impact on taxpayers.

Town Justice
Michael G. Cooper D, R, C, I

Robert W. Pietrocarlo D, C, WF


Town Supervisor 
Dennis M. Powers (i) R, I, C 
John Schmelzer D

What to know: Dennis Powers, a graduate of the University of Buffalo with an accounting and finance degree is seeking his second full two-year term as Supervisor. Powers released a 2014 budget this month that has no town tax, and reduced or flat taxes in all districts except the Fire Protection District. The town has no debt and a fund balance of $1.9 million. Powers previously served as a councilman for two full terms and was chosen to fill out the rest of Supervisor Michael Nolan’s term when he resigned.

Democrat John Schmelzer, a retired NY Central Railroad engineer and a current assistant chief of the Elma Fire Co., is making his second run against Powers. Schmelzer is also treasurer of the Elma Fire Company Benevolent Association. He is against what he calls “the friends and family deal” at the town hall for jobs. He believes in giving everyone a chance at a job, especially for summer jobs for kids. He is also against part-time health care for part-time employees.

Town Board (elect 2)
Tracy W. Petrocy (i) R, C, I
Thomas M. Fallon (i) C, R, I
Yvon Boulet D

What to know: Council members Tracy W. Petrocy, a local jewelry store owner, and Thomas M. Fallon, a businessman with Derrick Co., are running for their second four-year terms and are being challenged by newcomer to politics, Democrat Yvon (Ivan) Boulet, Canisius College student studying political Science and Criminal Justice. He is presently employed by Dial America Inc. selling home insurance and credit card protection.

Highway Superintendent
Wayne A. Clark (i) R, C, I


Town Board
Dennis Feldman (i) D, C
Jeanne Spoth Macko R, I

What to know: With a three-member board, the results in the Town Board race will decide the majority of the board. Currently the board is made up of two Democratic council members and a Republican supervisor. Excessive spending and lack of business growth was raised as a concern by both parties.

Highway Superintendent
Dominic M. Calandra D
Edward J. Michalski (i) R, C, I

What to know: In the highway superintendent race, the democrats backed a new candidate, Dominic Calandra instead of incumbent Edward Michalski, claiming that after 24 years, it is time to bring new ideas to the department. The republicans said Michalski has done an excellent job with the department and continues to streamline the process.

Town Clerk
Lynn M. Krajacic D, R, C, I, WF

Town Justice
Timothy J. Cooper (i) D, R, C


Town Board (elect 2)
Beverly A. Kinney D, I
Delilah A. D’Orazio D
Raymond A. Billica (i) R, C
Christopher K. Aronica (i) R, C, I

What to know: All four candidates say it’s a top priority to attract new businesses to Grand Island in order to broaden its tax base. D’Orazio and Kinney have each served on the Chamber of Commerce board for more than a decade and said they would work closely with small businesses to make them feel welcome. If re-elected, Billica said he would continue reaching out to businesses one by one, selling them on what Grand Island has to offer and Aronica said he would continue making personal introductions among businesses and the town’s Economic Development Board.

Town Justice
Mark J. Frentzel (i) D, R, C, I

Superintendent of Highways
William M. Stanley D, WF, I
James B. Tomkins (i) R, C

What to know: Both candidates said they would maintain a “black roads policy” in the winter, but differ as to how they would achieve it. During his tenure, Tomkins said he did away with “unnecessary overtime” and put an end to 24-hour on-the-clock shifts, limiting shifts to no more than 16 hours and allowing 8 hours for rest. Stanley said he would let snowfall dictate staffing.



Walter L. Rooth III, D, WF
Steven J. Walters (i), R, C, I

Board (4-year term)
Michael P. Quinn Jr., D, WF
Amy Carroll Ziegler (i), R, C, I

Board (2-year term)
Cheryl L. Potter-Juda, D, WF
Lawrence J. Speiser, R, C, I

Highway superintendent
Thomas M. Best, R, C, I
Ted Casey, D



What to know: Seven races will be on the ballot in the Town of Holland this November. Incumbents running unopposed are poised to return in 2014 to the positions of supervisor, town justice, tax collector, highway superintendent and two trustee positions. The town clerk post is the exception. Sandy Smith is retiring after two decades in the position. Merilu O’Dell, running on the Republican line, is the lone candidate for the position after defeating Robert Ersing in the primary elections.

Town Supervisor
Michael C. Kasprzyk (i) R

Town Board (elect 2)
Geoffrey W. Hack (i) C
Roberta A. Herr (i) R

Town Clerk
Merilu O’Dell R

Highway Superintendent
Patrick Joyce (i) R

Town Justice
William J. Franczak (i) R

Tax Collector
June E. McArthur (i) R


Trustee (elect 2)
Paul P. Catalano (i) D, WF, I
Kathleen E. Burd D, WF, I

What to know: The retirement of Sam Muscarella, the lone Republican on the Village Board, ensures the board’s five seats will be all Democratic come January. The Ken-Ton Republican Committee was unable to find any opponents for incumbent Paul P. Catalano and newcomer Kathleen E. Burd.

Village Justice
Scott F. Riordan (i) D, WF, I

What to know: Scott F. Riordan, a former prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, runs unopposed for another term for village justice.

Board (1st Ward)
Andrea Haxton, SU
John E. Ingram, PP
Abdulsalam K. Noman (i), D, C, WF

Board (2nd Ward)
Louis Croce, R, C, I
Annette Iafallo (i), D, WF

Board (3rd Ward)
Joseh L. Jerge, D, C


Board (elect 2)
John M. Abraham Jr. (i), D, C, WF, I
Robert E. Leary, R
Dem Ronald Ruffino Sr. (i), D, C, WF, I
Patrick F. Sportelli, R

Highway superintendent
Daniel J. Amatura (i), D, C, WF, I
Joseph M. Brainard, R

Mark S. Aquino, D, WF, I
Anthony J. Cervi, R, C


Town Supervisor
Leon E. Berner C, D
Earl A. Gingerich Jr. R, I

What to know: A concern regarding a permit for sludge storage on a Marilla farm still to be decided by the Department of Environmental Conservation has rallied residents fearful of impact on ground water. Although both candidates are farmers and are against the storage, they differ on zoning issues regarding businesses and housing. Current Supervisor George Gertz lost the Conservative line to Berner and the Republican line to Gingerich in the primary.

Town Board (elect 2)
Donald E. Darrow (i) R, I
Deborah J. Beats R, I
Leonard J. Blizniak Jr. C
Julie L. Lathrop D, C
Gary M. Gorski D


Town Board (elect 2)
James Mayrose (i) R, C, I, WF
Richard C. Baran (i) D, C
Marybeth Whiting R, I
Erik Polkowski D, WF

What to know: With the possible expansion of Akron Airport and the concerts at Braun’s Concert Cove leaving some residents up-in-arms, the board has its work cut out for them. Incumbents Baran and Mayrose say they are delicate issues the board is working on. Both cite the town’s solvency as an accomplishment. Challengers Whiting and Polkowski look to bring fresh perspectives to the board.

Town Justice
Dennis Freeman (i) R, C, I
Cheryl Esposito D, WF

What to know: Incumbent Dennis Freeman has served as the Town Justice for over 20 years. Esposito has an interest in criminal justice and believes she can deal with the changing landscape of crime in Newstead.

Town Clerk
Dawn Izydorczak (i) R, C, I

Highway Superintendent
Michael Bassanello (i) D, WF
John D. Jendrowski R, C, I

What to know: Incumbent Highway Supervisor Michael Bassanello has been at the job for the last eight years. Challenger Jendrowski believes the town could be doing more to save tax payers money by cutting down on waste at the highway department.


Town Board (elect 2)
Jeffrey T. Krauss (i) D
Jenaro G. Rios D
John M. Tobia R, C
Karen A. Ricotta R

Town Board (to fill vacancy for two years)
Ellen M. Mathis D, C

Town Justice
Ward W. Weiser D, C

What to know: With the resignation of Marian Vanni (R) this summer and George LoBianco, (D) deciding not to seek another term, Jeffrey Krauss is the only incumbent seeking re-election. That means at least two new people will take office in January, with Ellen Mathis running unopposed to fill Vanni’s term. Issues discussed by candidates included updating the master plan, curtailing spending and encouraging business growth. The board had been three Republicans to two Democrats, so the majority could change, depending on the results.


Janis Colarusso (i), D, WF

Patrick J. Keem, R, C, I

Board (4-year term)
Gene L. Majchrzak (i), R, C
Lynmarie Phillips, D, WF, I

Board (2-year term)
Mike Sherry, D, R, C, I

Highway superintendent
Frederick J. Piasecki Jr. (i), R, C, I


Town Supervisor
Daniel L. Miller R
Beverly A. Gambino C, I


What to know: The Town of Sardinia will elect a new supervisor with current Councilman Daniel L. Miller facing a challenge from Beverly A. Gambino, the town’s bookkeeper.

Town Board (elect 2)
Cheryl L. Earl (i) C, I
Dale E. Hediger D, R
Carla L. Fuller R
Leonard R. Hochadel C, I 
John R. Schiener D

What to know: There will be at least one new member of the town board, with incumbent Cheryl L. Earl seeking to regain her council seat, with a total of five candidates, including former Sardinia Town Supervisor Leonard R. Hochadel, in the mix. Among the issues new board members will have to face is a decision on how to disperse $2 million in surplus funds back to residents.

Town Clerk
Betsy A. Marsh (i) R, C, I

Town Justice
Gene R. Heintz D, R, C, I

Town Superintendent of Highways
Donald W. Hopkins (i) R, C, I



Rick Davis, D, WF
Ronald J. Pilozzi (i), R, C, I

Board (1st Ward)
Paul P. Brunner, D
Charles M. Gilbert, R, C, WF, I

Board (2nd Ward)
Jonathan R. Juliano, R, I
Jackie A. Smilinich, D, C, WF

Board (3rd Ward)
John J. Hall, R, I
Richard A. Slisz (i), D, C, WF

Board (4th Ward)
Brian M. Jopp, R
Jenna N. Koch, D, C, WF, I


Board (elect 3)

John A. Bargnesi Jr. (i), D, C, WF
Lisa M. Chimera (i), D, WF, I
Joseph H. Emminger Sr. (i), D, C, WF
Gigi E. Grizanti, R, I, C
Ann M. Morelli, R, I
Michael R. Vishion, R

Highway superintendent
Russell Riggio Jr., R, I
William E. Swanson (i), D, C, WF.


Town Supervisor
Rickey A. Venditti (i) R,C
What to know: Rickey A. Venditti is running for his sixth 2 year term is unopposed.

Town Board (elect 2)
Jude A. Hartrich (i) R, C
Gerald E. Klinck (i) R, C

What to know: Councilman Gerald E. Klinck R is running for his third 4 year term. He is the deputy supervisor and headed the committee for code changes for small farms. Jude A. Hartrich R. C. is running for her second 4 year term. She is a member of the Wales Center Fire Co., favors a new walking path around the town park, and water rights protection.

Highway Superintendent
Michael Zywar (i) R
Dani Bond D, C, I

John Sly (i) R

Town Clerk
Melinda M. Eaton (i) R


Town Board
William P. Hanley Jr., D, WF
James E. Manley, R


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