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Ortt declares victory in 62nd State Senate race

Republican Robert G. Ortt has declared victory in the race for the State Senate’s 62nd District against Democrat Johnny G. Destino.

With 63 percent of the vote in, Ortt received 67 percent of the vote, while Destino got 30 percent in the race, according to unofficial results from the Boards of Election in Niagara, Orleans and Monroe counties.

Ortt declared victory at his North Tonawanda headquarters just after 10 p.m. He takes over the seat held for 19 years by George D. Maziarz.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district approximately 37 to 35 percent, while one in five registered voters in the district is not affiliated with a party.

Ortt, mayor of North Tonawanda since 2010, and Destino, an attorney and Niagara Falls School Board member, took some similar positions during the campaign. Both said that they would vote to repeal the SAFE Act, though that didn’t stop each side from attacking the other’s perceived credentials on the state’s controversial gun control law. They each also outlined concerns with the state’s Common Core curriculum.

Ortt’s supporters questioned the party allegiance of Destino, who ran for mayor Niagara Falls in 2011 as a Republican and challenged Maziarz in the Republican primary two years ago with the support of the Tea Party.

Maziarz, who served in the State Senate for 19 years, did not seek re-election. About $140,000 in unitemized campaign expenses brought Maziarz into the sights of the state’s Moreland Commission this summer and spurred a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Maziarz announced he would not run again after top staffers resigned and faced subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury.

Destino tried to tie Ortt to Maziarz during the campaign.

Paul E. Brown, who had the Working Families line, received 3 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

The 62nd District covers all of Niagara and Orleans counties, as well as the towns of Sweden and Ogden in Monroe County. About 75 percent of the registered voters in the district live in Niagara County, according to the State Board of Elections.