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Democrats retain control of Erie County Legislature

Republicans came into Tuesday as the minority party in the Erie County Legislature, and the election did nothing to change that.

Democrats will maintain control of the Legislature – as expected – while the Republican-supported caucus was unable to gain ground, according to incomplete election results available late Tuesday.

Democrats would still hold a 7-to-4 edge in the Legislature, which gives County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz – who was re-elected to another term Tuesday – an easy path to move forward with his Democratic agenda.

The Republican-endorsed candidates came in hoping to pick up at least one seat – or at least maintain the status quo in the Legislature. They certainly couldn't afford to lose a seat, if they wanted to be considered anything more than an often-ignored voice on policy and spending issues under a Poloncarz administration.

All 11 members of the Erie County Legislature were up for re-election this year, and the races went pretty much as expected on election night.

For the Democrats, incumbent legislators Howard J. Johnson Jr., April N.M. Baskin and Lisa M. Chimera all won handily over their challengers, who were on minor party lines or didn't wage an active campaign. Incumbents Kevin R. Hardwick and Timothy J. Meyers also won.

For the Republicans, Edward A. Rath III and John J. Mills, veterans whose seats are rarely threatened, declared victory, while Conservative Joseph C. Lorigo easily won re-election.

One of the key races on Tuesday was in the 9th Legislative District, where Republican-backed Legislator Lynne Dixon vacated her seat to run for county executive. That opened the door for Democrat John Gilmour, who won over Republican Ryan R. Stang.

Another closely watched race was in the 5th District, where Democratic attorney Jeanne Vinal beat Republican Shelly D. Schratz. Vinal will replace Legislator Thomas Loughran, who did not seek re-election.

Elsewhere, the one-term incumbent Democrat John Bruso lost in the race for the 8th District against Republican newcomer Frank J. Todaro.

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Erie County Legislature:

1st District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Howard J. Johnson Jr., D; 6,741, 81% of votes
  • Katrinna Martin, W; 1,579, 19%

2nd District (100% of districts reporting)

  • April N. McCants-Baskin, D; 8,619, 89.6%
  • Cariol J. Horne, G; 1,000, 10.4%

3rd District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Lisa M. Chimera, D; 10,744, 75.1%
  • Juan Carlos Rivera, R; 3,556, 24.9%

4th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Kevin R. Hardwick, D, W; 11,165,  53.2%
  • Jacob J. McMahon, R, C, I, SAM; 9,805, 46.8%

5th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Jeanne M. Vinal, D, W; 9,666, 54.9%
  • Shelly D. Schratz, R, C, I; 7,925, 45.1%

6th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • William N. Freeman, D, W; 6,993, 35.1%
  • Edward A. Rath III, R, C, I; 12,921, 64.9%

7th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Timothy J. Meyers, D, W; 8,295, 60.6%
  • Alice Magierski, R, C; 5,398, 39.4%

8th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • John Bruso, D, W; 9,836, 48.1%
  • Frank J. Todaro, R, C, I, SAM; 10,599, 51.9%

9th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • John Gilmour, D, C, W; 12,477, 59.3%
  • Ryan R. Stang, R, I, SAM; 8,547, 40.7%

10th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Thomas P. Casey, D; 8,488, 34.3%
  • Joseph C. Lorigo, R, C, I, SAM; 16,197, 65.7%

11th District (100% of districts reporting)

  • Kathryn R. Eskew, D; 7,343, 31.7%
  • John J. Mills, R, C, I; 15,788, 68.3%

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Races, results, analysis and more: Stay with The Buffalo News for comprehensive coverage of the 2019 elections.

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