April petitions bring June primaries

It is nicer to think of the expression “April showers bring May flowers,” but like it or not there are a bunch of primaries sprouting up all over Erie County.

In the midst of serious and protracted budget negotiations among Governor Kathy Hochul, the Assembly, and the Senate those parties found time to add an extra four days to the deadline for filing party designating petitions for offices on the ballot in 2023.  Anecdotally, there have been stories about certain candidates struggling to get sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot.  Petitioning in March is always going to present a variety of problems.  How exactly adding four days to the filing deadline helped anyone is unknown.  In any case, the new deadline was April 10.

While some petitions might come in through the mail if postmarked by April 10, the bulk of the petitions necessary for offices up for election this year arrived with the Erie County Board of Elections by that date.  The Board still must review the petitions to determine if they meet legal requirements concerning the form of a petition and the number of signatures before they can be certified as valid.  It is common for opposing candidates to independently review filed petitions and submit objections to their validity. 

The petitions received through April 10 by the BOE indicate a number of primary elections are in the offing.  The Democrats, Republicans, and Conservatives will have primaries.

Here is a summary of potential primaries as indicated through petitions filed by the morning of April 10:

  • First, a note about some races for which there is no apparent primary challenge:
    • Erie County Executive. Mark Poloncarz is the Democratic and Working Families nominee; Chrissy Casilio-Bluhm is the Republican. Harold “Budd” Schroeder was expected to decline the Conservative designation, which will lead the Conservatives by April 18 to substitute Casilio-Bluhm. That development confirms the party’s loyalty to the Reps, despite Chairman Ralph Lorigo declaration of war following the failure of the Reps to nominate his daughter-in-law for a County Legislature seat.
    • Erie County Family Court Judge (three to be elected). Judges Mary Carney and Deanne Tripi along with first-time candidate Shannon Filbert have been nominated by the Democrats, Republicans, and Working Families parties. The Conservative Party’s petitions included Carney and Tripi plus Gerald Paradise. Filbert has filed her own Conservative petitions, so there will be a primary for Family Court on the Conservative line.

    • Buffalo Comptroller Barbara Miller-Williams is the Democratic candidate with no opposition.
    • Buffalo City Court Judge candidate Tiffany Perry has no opposition.
    • Mayor Patrick Mang and two Democratic candidates for the Kenmore Village Board have no identified opposition for election in November.
    • Democrats have not filed petitions for Erie County Legislature in the 8th and 11th Districts. The incumbent Republican legislators in those seats are Frank Todaro and John Mills.
    • Republicans have not filed petitions for Erie County Legislature in the 1st and 2nd Districts.  The incumbent Democratic legislators representing those districts are Howard Johnson and April McCants-Baskin.
  • There are several Democratic primary races for members of the Buffalo Common Council including:
    • Ellicott District.  Candidates filing petitions include Matthew Dearing, Leah Halton-Pope, Emin Eddie Egriu, and Cedric Holloway.
    • Fillmore District.  Incumbent Mitchell Nowakowski is being challenged by Sam Herbert.
    • Masten District.  Candidates filing petitions include Murray Holman, India Walton and Zeneta Everhart
    • North District.  Incumbent Councilmember Joe Golombek is being challenged by Eve Shippens and Lisa Thagard.
    • University District.  Incumbent Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt is opposed by Kathryn Franco.
    • Lovejoy District. Incumbent Bryan Bollman is challenged by Mohammed Uddin.
  • There will be a primary in the 10th District of the County Legislature for both the Republican and Conservative nominations.  Appointed incumbent Jim Malczewski is being challenged by Lindsey Bratek-Lorigo.
  • There is a Democratic primary for Cheektowaga Town Supervisor. Two current members of the Town Board, Brian Nowak and Christine Adamczyk, are
  • Two candidates have filed for the Democratic nomination for Cheektowaga Highway Superintendent. They are Richard Rusiniak and Darryl Stachura.
  • Two candidates have filed Democratic petitions for President of the City of Tonawanda Council, Mary Ann Cancilla and incumbent Jenna Koch.
  • There are two Republican candidates for Alden Supervisor, Alecia Barrett and current Councilmember Colleen Pautler.
  • There are four Republican candidates for three Town Council seats in Alden.  One of the seats is for two years.
  • Two Republicans have filed petitions for Supervisor of Grand Island, current Councilmember Michael Madigan and Peter Marston.
  • There will be a Conservative primary for Town Council in Tonawanda.  Incumbent Carl Szarek will face former Republican Town Chairman Matthew Braun, who resigned his chairmanship and reaffiliated as a Conservative to enter the primary.  Approximately 40 other Tonawanda voters also reaffiliated as Conservatives to assist in the scheme.
  • Two Republicans have filed for Supervisor of Marilla, Jennifer Achman and incumbent Earl Gingerich.
  • There are two candidates who have filed for the Democratic Town Justice nomination in the Town of Newstead.
  • The parties have filed petitions for candidates for Judicial Delegates and Alternates in the various Assembly Districts even though there are not at the moment any State Supreme Court positions up for election in 2023.

After the Board of Elections reviews the petitions, and pending any challenges by opponents, we will have the final primary election lineup.  Expect some candidates to be knocked off the ballot.  If a candidate declined their party designation by April 14 the candidate’s Committee on Vacancies can substitute a different candidate, a process that can play out until April 24 this year.

There are 148 offices on the ballot throughout Erie County in 2023, so even with the possible primaries noted above the majority of the offices have their November election lineups already set.

Stay tuned.

Twitter @kenkruly