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Two Races to Watch Tomorrow

Sitting on a
sofa on a Sunday afternoon /
Going to the candidates debate /
Laugh about it,
shout about it
/ When you’ve got to choose
/ Every way you look at it, you
lose.

This is how a lot of people may feel, looking over the upcoming regional elections with its obvious slam-dunks or otherwise scant
offerings of candidates.

Buffalo
Mayor’s race
:
Incumbent Byron Brown runs against no one.  A campaign that eliminated fellow democrat Mickey Kearns in
the primary decided this race in September.  Adding insult to injury, Erie County Democratic Chairman,
Len Lenihan, whose party withheld an endorsement of Democrats Brown or Kearns
prior to the primary, was quoted in The Buffalo News as saying, “Not to be
able to find one human being to run for mayor of the City of Buffalo is a
pretty odd situation.” 

Erie County
Sheriff
:  Current sheriff, Republican Tim Howard
is being challenged by John Glascott, the Democratic Police Captain of
Cheektowaga.  It’s a nasty race in
which both seasoned law enforcement veterans are pointing to the fact that
although their opponent may “get their man,” they also lose them–from
murderers too rapists.  With
Glascott’s 12 cells, compared to Howard’s 25,000 inmates a year, each has made
erroneous releases (to disasterous consequences), and had suicides and escapes
under their watch–the highest profile one being that of trooper killer Ralph
Bucky Phillips from Howard’s county jail. 
Still, the State Police are endorsing Howard.

In a debate
held a few weeks back (see this Phil Fairbanks story in The Buffalo News),
Howard justified allowing a Hollywood film crew in, but has denied the
Department of Justice access to the jail for investigative purposes.  Howard says he doesn’t trust the
Department of Justice. 

Erie County
Legislature:
5 of the
15 legislators is running unopposed this year. Timothy Kennedy (2nd District) , Barbara Miller-Williams (23rd District), Maria Whyte
(6th District), Betty Jean Grant (7th District) and John Mills (13th District),
have no challengers.  Last week’s
Buffalo News accused incumbent legislator Michelle Ianello, who is being
challenged by Republican Kevin Hardwick, of being racist for asking that members of her
canvassing crew be removed.  The
two African American representatives of the Working Families Party were going
door to door, asking voters to sign a pledge stating they would vote for
Ianello.

Ianello’s
quote in The Buffalo News
, stating that it was a “difference of
opinion,” looks like it was an answer to the charge of bigotry, but in
context, it was Ianello’s feelings about the tactics used with voters. Hardwick’s campaign is being partially financed by It should be mentioned that County Executive Chris Collins offered campaign help to Hardwick when he recruited him to run against Ianello.  According to Hardwick, Collins offered help, “financially, politically,” though there is no record of any funds coming from Collins to date.

This Buffalo News story by Bob McCarthy examines the ways in which Collins inserted himself into the campaigns of fellow Republicans, including Hardwick.

In tomorrow’s
election, with obvious slam-dunks and otherwise slim pickin’s, is the number of
races that are already decided a sign of everything going right, or general
apathy?  The numbers at the polls
will tell in the end, along with any major shifts, particularly those between
Howard and Glascott and Hardwick and Ianello.

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