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Democrats back Wallace to challenge Wozniak for Assembly seat


Attorney Monica P. Wallace received the endorsement of the Cheektowaga and Lancaster Democratic Committees on Sunday in her bid for the Democratic nomination in the race for the 143rd District Assembly seat, according to her campaign.

Wallace, a University at Buffalo Law School professor, beat James P. Rogowski, a teacher and Cheektowaga councilman, by a 3-to-1 margin as both vie for the Democratic nod for the seat held by Angela M. Wozniak, a Conservative who organizes with Albany Republicans.

Wallace is a University at Buffalo Law School professor who previously worked as confidential law clerk to a federal district judge in Buffalo.

“As a first-time candidate, Monica started with nothing and in a few short months managed to win the overwhelming support of committee members. She showed [Sunday] her incredible ability to bring people together and get things done,” Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner said in a written statement provided by Wallace’s campaign.

Wallace, 47, announced Feb. 29 she would run for the seat. She officially kicked off her campaign with a fundraiser at the Grapevine banquet hall in Depew on Friday hosted by attorneys Margaret A. Murphy and Cheryl Meyers-Buth. About 150 people attended the event and Wallace was introduced by former Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz, her campaign said.

Wozniak, the incumbent, was sanctioned in March by a bipartisan Assembly ethics panel following an affair with a staff member.

Wozniak got elected to the Assembly seat in 2014 after Democrat Dennis H. Gabryszak resigned amid allegations he sexually harassed staff members. She was the first non-Democrat to nab the seat, which covers Cheektowaga, Lancaster and Depew, since 1972.