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Faso, DeLabio win judgeships in Niagara County primaries

Niagara Falls voters gave attorney James J. Faso Jr. a City Court judgeship Tuesday, while winnowing a field of nine City Council hopefuls to six.

Meanwhile, voters across Niagara County chose Wheatfield Town Justice Erin P. DeLabio as the next county Family Court judge. Like Faso, DeLabio won every contested primary.

Falls City Court

Faso, a defense attorney with one of the largest caseloads in the area, ran well ahead of two other attorneys, Alan J. Roscetti and Nicholas A. Pelosino Jr., in the Democratic and Republican contests.

Faso also posted victories in the Conservative, Green, Working Families, Independence, Women's Equality and Reform party contests.

After an unopposed victory in November, Faso will take the seat of Judge Robert P. Merino, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 this year.

"It feels really good. We worked hard. My wife and I walked 6,000 doors since May 9," Faso said. "I helped a lot of people in my practice over the years. I'll work to help them in a different way. I'm ready for the challenge."

Falls City Council

Councilwoman Kristen M. Grandinetti (Buffalo News file photo)

Democratic incumbents Kristen M. Grandinetti and Andrew P. Touma survived a five-way primary and will be on the ballot for three available seats in November.

Touma finished first, William D. Kennedy II was second and Grandinetti was third in the Democratic primary. Amber S. Hill-Donhauser ran fourth and Lakea A. Perry fifth.

"What gives me an edge is the work I've done in the last 3 1/2 years, the work ethic and the integrity I've shown," Touma said. "You have to earn your votes, and I believe I've done that."

Touma said the biggest issues facing the city are financial problems, stemming in large part from the cutoff of Seneca Niagara Casino revenue, as well as public safety and quality of life.

Robert D. Pascoal, president of the Landlords Association of Greater Niagara, was the top Republican vote-getter. Samuel F. Archie ran second, two votes ahead of former Niagara Gazette publisher Christopher P. Voccio. Former Councilwoman Candra C. Thomason lost out, finishing fourth.

Pascoal said his top priority if elected will be to seek ways to reduce poverty and crime in the Falls. "Just because people don't make a lot of money doesn't mean they have to live in a neighborhood that's unsafe," he said.

Family Court

Justice Erin P. DeLabio

In the race to succeed retiring Judge John F. Batt, DeLabio won the Democratic, Republican and six minor-party races over Lockport attorney Patrick M. Balkin.

In addition to serving as town justice in Wheatfield, DeLabio has been confidential law clerk to Family Court Judge Kathleen Wojtaszek-Gariano since 2012. She earned her undergraduate degree at SUNY Buffalo State and earned a law degree at Queens College.


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