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Primaries galore in Niagara County campaign season

LOCKPORT – There’s no shortage of candidates running for local offices in Niagara County this year, as the list of nominating petitions, compiled Thursday by the county Board of Elections, sets up primaries for many key positions.

There will be primaries in September in both parties for mayor of Niagara Falls and among Democrats for mayor of Lockport.

Primaries also are on tap for city judge and councilman in the Falls, three Council seats in Lockport and two in North Tonawanda, three County Legislature seats, town supervisors in Lewiston, Wheatfield and Somerset, and town justices in Hartland and Pendleton.

In Niagara Falls, five men filed petitions to run for mayor, including Democratic incumbent Paul A. Dyster, who is being challenged by Councilman Glenn A. Choolokian in a Democratic primary.

On the Republican side, the mayoral contenders are former Councilman John G. Accardo, businessman James J. Szwedo and Robert Pascoal, president of the Landlords Association of Greater Niagara.

Running for two available City Council seats are four Democrats: incumbent Robert A. Anderson, along with Alicia M. Laible, Ezra P. Scott Jr. and Richard D. Smith. GOP petitions were filed by Willie A. Price and Kenneth M. Tompkins.

There are two seats on the Niagara Falls City Court bench, with three contenders running in multiple primaries: incumbent Mark A. Violante and attorneys David G. Boniello and Danielle M. Restaino.

In Lockport, Republican Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey awaits the winner of a Democratic primary between former union leader Roger L. Sherrie and retired police officer Michael J. Pillot, the party’s nominee in 2007 and 2011.

Republican Council primaries in Lockport match Shirley A. Nicholas, Joseph P. Oates and Jennifer O. D’Andrea-Terreri in the 1st Ward; incumbent Kathryn J. Fogle against Mark S. Devine in the 3rd Ward; and Eloise M. Campfield and David R. Wohleben in the 4th Ward.

There’s a GOP Council primary in North Tonawanda’s 2nd Ward between incumbent Donna L. Braun and Lori A. Calamita. Incumbent Alderman-at-Large Robert E. Pecoraro has a GOP primary against former County Legislator Peter E. Smolinski. Calamita and Smolinski have been cross-endorsed by the Democrats.

County Legislature primaries include a Democratic contest in Niagara Falls’ 3rd District between incumbent Mark J. Grozio and Robert F. Bilson, and two Republican contests in Lockport: incumbent Anthony J. Nemi against Russell J. DeFranco in the 11th District, and incumbent W. Keith McNall against Robert K. Drury in the 13th District.

In Lewiston, Deputy Supervisor Mark J. Briglio, a Democrat, filed petitions in both major parties for supervisor, and he has a GOP primary against Steve Broderick.

A GOP race for highway superintendent finds incumbent Douglas A. Janese challenged by Jeffrey V. Rose.

Wheatfield Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe has a GOP primary against Thomas J. Larson, whom he defeated in 2013. David T. Lee is mounting a primary challenge to incumbent GOP councilmen Larry L. Helwig and Gilbert G. Doucet.

Somerset Supervisor Daniel M. Engert has a Republican primary opponent, Paul Oliveira.

Pendleton voters will have multiple primaries for town justice among Susan B. Bjornholm, law clerk to County Judge Sara Sheldon; Edward J. McDonald, former president of the county blue-collar union; and Lt. Kevin D. Mack of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

In Hartland, incumbent Justice Joanne L. Sullivan faces Brian D. Gross and Lisa A. Trakas in multiple primaries for two available seats.