Weekly Feature

2009-11-11 / Front Page

Schratz not conceding 14th District legislative race

by JESSICA L. FINCH Associate Editor

The race in the Erie County Legislature’s 14th District was the closest in the county in the Nov. 3 election.

Incumbent Democrat Thomas Loughran faced a tough challenger, Republican Shelly Schratz, an Amherst Town Board member, and a winner has not been declared.

As it stands, the difference is 227 votes. Loughran logged 6,385 votes, or 51 percent, to Schratz’s 6,158, or 49 percent.

Schratz said she remains optimistic, with 300 to 400 absentee ballots still to be counted and a recanvassing of the district planned.

“I feel really good about it,” Schratz said. “I am not discouraged at all.”

She added that her major party, or Republican, line had 5,388 votes to Loughran’s Democratic line with 5,258. During the September primary, Schratz won the right to run on the Independence Party line and garnered 770 votes. She compared that to Loughran’s Conservative line, which had 729 votes.

Loughran also ran on the Working Families line, where he received 398 votes.

“The (Amherst) unions promised to work for my opponent, and that is where the votes lay,” Schratz said.

According to Schratz, she has been told she won in Tonawanda and Cheektowaga.

Loughran said he believes there are 331 absentee ballots to be counted and 169 were requested by Democrats.

“This is pretty close, but it looks good, very good,” he said.

Based on the information before him, Loughran said he was glad he won, adding that it was a difficult year. He said Schratz outspent him, mailing out three times as many campaign fliers. He also noted the support of the county executive and state for the Republican candidate.

If Loughran comes away with the official victory, it will be a sweep for incumbent legislators representing Amherst.

Republican candidates Edward Rath and Raymond Walter claimed victory shortly after the polls closed.

Rath, who will represent the 15th District for a second term, earned 60 percent of the votes, defeating Democratic challenger Francina Spoth.

Rath thanked his wife, Amy, and the Amherst Republican Party members who gathered at headquarters at Maple and North Forest roads after Chairman Marshall Wood called the race.

“We will continue to work on meaningful reform,” he said.

That includes considering downsizing the Legislature and lengthening terms, but as two separate items. He will also be focusing on the need for repairing infrastructure in Amherst and Erie County.

In the 4th District, Walter recorded his first victory, with 64 percent of the votes, against Democratic candidate Justin Rooney. Walter was appointed to the seat in 2007 after state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer was elected to that position.

“I want to thank the people of Clarence, Amherst, Newstead and Cheektowaga for giving me the privilege of serving them for a full two-year term,” Walter said. “A lot of great people put their time, effort and resources into helping me win this election, and I’m happy their efforts were fruitful.”

He promised to continue working toward a smaller and more efficient government.

“Based on the outcome of the elections throughout the county, this is what the people are looking for, and now it’s time for us to deliver,” he said.

Other election results include:

Erie County sheriff (four-year term): With 95 percent of districts reporting, incumbent Timothy Howard (R, C, I) defeated current Cheektowaga Police Capt. John Glascott (D, Law and Order) by a vote of 73,842 to 66,697.

Erie County comptroller (four-year term): With 95 percent of districts reporting, incumbent Mark Poloncarz (D, WF), won with 70,436 votes over Philip Kadet’s (R, C) 60,245 and Michael Abramo’s (I) 4,688.

State Supreme Court justice, 8th Judicial District (three 14-year terms): Christopher J. Burns (D, R, C, I, WF); Shirley Troutman (D, R, I, WF); and John F. O’Donnell (D, C, I, WF), were elected.

County Proposition: R esults remained close with 96 percent of districts reporting, with 48,780 yes votes and 48,434 no. The measure would allow the County Legislature to cancel or decrease spending of any professional/ personal service contract entered into by the county whether or not such contract is subject to approval by the Legislature, provided that no such cancellation shall limit the contractors’ right to receive payment for services provided up to the date of cancellation.

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