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Conservative Party leaders deny backing for 3 legislators over ECMC vote

Conservative leaders vented their wrath on three county legislators Tuesday, denying their endorsement because of “bad votes” on financing for new emergency facilities at Erie County Medical Center.

Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo said Democrats Patrick B. Burke and Peter J. Savage III plus Republican Kevin R. Hardwick – all of whom gained the party nod in previous elections – received a thumbs down during a Tuesday evening committee meeting.

“The ECMC vote was just a bad governmental vote,” Lorigo said. “Who spends $100 million and not receive a cost breakdown?

“They all had our endorsement at one time,” he added. “Now they don’t.”

Lorigo has helped lead opposition to the ECMC financing plan for a new emergency room, contending the majority of the $100 million borrowing program is designed to prop up the Poloncarz administration’s operating budget. The legislators’ votes in favor, he said, resulted in their loss of support from the state’s top minor party that often proves crucial in close elections.

“This is a shot across the bow to remind them that fiscally conservative stuff still matters,” Lorigo said.

The decision results in the Conservative line for Republican Guy R. Marlette, running in a competitive race against Thomas A. Loughran in District 5.

Loughran’s loss of the Conservative line is considered especially significant since he was able to brandish the party’s support in a district with about 4,000 more Democrats than Republicans. In 2009, for example, Loughran beat Republican Shelly Schratz by just over 200 votes on the strength of minor party lines – mostly Conservative.

And Lorigo has noted in the past Loughran’s efforts to maintain support from the party.

Other legislative endorsements were granted to Republican John J. Mills in District 11; Conservative Joseph C. Lorigo in District 10; Independent Lynne M. Dixon in District 9, and Republican Ted B. Morton in District 8.

The party also endorsed Republican incumbents Timothy B. Howard for sheriff and Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. for comptroller, along with Democrat Susan Eagan for County Court. Democrats Betty Calvo-Torres and Andrew C. LoTempio were endorsed for Buffalo City Court.

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