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Democrats hold Niagara Falls Council edge; Pappas re-elected North Tonawanda mayor

Niagara Falls Republicans entered Tuesday's election with hopes of success in the City Council race -- but Democrats won two of the three seats being contested.

Combined with incumbents who didn't have to run this year, the Democrats will hold a 3-2 edge on the Council in 2018.

Complete but unofficial election results showed William D. Kennedy II, a first-time Democratic candidate, as the top vote-getter, finishing 130 votes ahead of Councilman Andrew P. Touma, who won his second four-year term.

The third spot goes to Republican Christopher P. Voccio, who earlier this year resigned as publisher of the Niagara Gazette and declared his candidacy for the Council. He trailed Touma by 178 votes.

"I outworked everyone. I walked every district, every street," Voccio said after the polls closed. "I probably outspent everybody simply because I had to. I was a new candidate and a Republican in a city that's 3-to-1 Democrat."

"It's a little easier for newcomers. They don't have any negatives," Touma said. "Certainly, I'm honored to be re-elected. I made some good decisions in the last 3 1/2 years. I'm independent, open-minded."

Republican Robert D. Pascoal, the president of the Landlords Association of Greater Niagara, finished fourth. He was targeted by the Democrats with what he called an an inaccurate direct mail piece accusing him of having $4,669 in unpaid property taxes. At the time, the real figure was $411, and Pascoal paid those taxes last week.

Republican Samuel F. Archie, who has sought office in the past, came in fifth, while incumbent Councilwoman Kristen M. Grandinetti finished last, 51 votes behind Archie.

Charles A. Walker, the Democrat now serving as Council chairman, did not seek re-election. Democrat Ezra P. Scott Jr. and Republican Kenny M. Tompkins did not have to run this year.

In North Tonawanda, GOP Mayor Arthur G. Pappas was re-elected with a comfortable win over Democrat James K. McGinniss.

Pappas, who polled 56 percent of the vote, won his second election victory, but it brings him his first full four-year term.

Pappas was appointed mayor by the Common Council in December 2014, after Robert G. Ortt won a seat in the State Senate, and won an election for the unexpired mayoral term in 2015.

"I'm humbled by it. I think the track we're on, the voters seem to agree with," Pappas said.

However, the Democrats, who have been shut out for the past few elections in North Tonawanda, won the seat of alderman at large.

Austin J. Tylec, the 25-year-old son of longtime Niagara County Legislator John S. Tylec, won 58 percent of the vote and knocked off former County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz, the GOP candidate, who was appointed to the seat earlier this year. Tylec outpolled Pappas, by 102 votes, citywide.

Republicans managed to hold all three ward alderman seats in close races.

The highlight town race was in Pendleton. Town Supervisor Joel M. Maerten, a Republican, won his second term by beating the same opponent he ousted from office two years ago, Democrat James A. Riester.

Maerten rolled up 59 percent of the vote in squelching Riester's comeback bid, and the GOP won both available Town Board seats as well.

The only other contested race for town supervisor in Niagara County also was won by a Republican incumbent, Doyle H. Phillips, in Wilson.

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