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McNall, Bradt emerge as likely leaders of Niagara County Legislature

LOCKPORT – W. Keith McNall, a Lockport Republican, has emerged as the front-runner to become chairman of the Niagara County Legislature in 2016.

Also, Legislator Randy R. Bradt, R-North Tonawanda, is the most likely choice for majority leader, according to political sources with knowledge of the likely outcome.

Neither man would confirm the information Thursday, pointing to a caucus meeting of the Legislature’s Republican majority set for Tuesday. But both expressed interest in the positions.

The top leadership positions are open because Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, and Majority Leader Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, both chose not to run for new terms as legislators. The GOP has an 11-4 majority over the Democrats.

“There are a couple of people who would like to see me as chairman. There are a couple of others who are interested. They’ve got a week to figure it out,” McNall said. “Whoever gets it, it’s a humongous job.”

Another legislator who has been mentioned for the chairmanship is David E. Godfrey, R-Wilson, who said he won’t be able to attend Tuesday’s caucus because he will be in Albany on county business.

“I had always told the party I was willing to step up to wherever I was needed,” Godfrey said. “I would be honored if they would look at me in this respect.”

However, McNall has more seniority than Godfrey. McNall joined the Legislature in 2006, while Godfrey came onboard in 2010. Both were appointed to fill vacancies and have won all their subsequent elections.

“When they look at the next chairman, they should look at those who have the most time in grade and give them the opportunity,” Godfrey said.