Primary Election Day - Don't forget to vote.
The Fillmore district primary race that ends with today's election could be written as a true-life novel, featuring three men over 60, each a character in his own right.
There's incumbent Councilman David Franczyk, 61, a scholarly, intellectual type, a history buff not afraid to get down in the dirt, who had ambitions to move on over the years, but for one reason or another -- including once losing a bid for Congress - never strayed from Buffalo City Hall. He is, in fact, the institutional memory of the body he was first elected to in 1986.
There's Sam Herbert, a perennial candidate whose current Council race is his third against Franczyk. He's 66, born in Harlem, suffered from polio as a kid, and moved to Buffalo as a young man, having promised his father he would spread the Herbert name beyond Manhattan. He's a sharp dresser (was wearing a pair of red slacks last time I saw him), who sometimes sounds a bit retro, insisting on using the terms homosexual and heterosexual rather than gay and straight.
Then there's Joe Mascia. After being tape -recorded using the N-word to describe Buffalo's African-American leaders, others might have dropped out of the race. But not Mascia. He's a fighter who isn't going to walk away from a fight. A bit short and a bit stout, this 70-year-old who also carries a mountain of personal debt, personifies a challenge to authority - always claiming the moral authority whether he has it or not.
Who will win? That's up to you, the Democratic primary voter.
Mascia thinks he's doing pretty well. Franczyk and Herbert aren't speculating.
This is, after all, a campaign likely decided by voter turnout more than anything else. And not many people are expected to vote this primary season given the top of the ticket is a Family Court judgeship. Not exactly the stuff that brings voters flocking to the polls.
And of course it's not just a matter of how many voters vote, but also who those voters are. A heavy African-American vote bodes well for Herbert, the only black in the three-man race. A heavy Allentown vote bodes well for Franczyk, who has support from the gay community there as well as city police, teachers and firefighters. And for Mascia? He's a Housing Authority resident, and he seems pretty confident of garnering that vote. Maybe. But after his N-word tirade, maybe not.
We'll find out tonight, after the polls close, when a primary election winner, and perhaps an overall winner, will be determined.
Herbert and Mascia are only running for the Democratic line. So if Franczyk wins, the Fillmore District race is virtually over.
But if either Herbert or Mascia are victorious tonight, Franczyk still has the Republican and Working Families lines in November. Which means we'll have a couple more months of what has been one of the more novelesque races in memory. Not necessarily a good novel, but a novel nonetheless.
The other race
It's been over shadowed by the personality politics of the Fillmore race, but the Masten District race features what many believe are three good candidates. Ulysees Wingo. Sharon Belton-Cottman. Lamone Gibson.
Wingo and Belton-Cottman are the favorites. Wingo has support from Mayor Brown and the Democratic Party. Belton-Cottman is a current school board member, which gives her name recognition. Gibson is younger, and less well known at this point.
And the winner is?
Tune in tonight. I'll be covering the election, and will tweet the results out asap.
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