11:46 am
Wed November 5, 2008

Lee Wins 26th District House Seat, Ranzenhofer Beats Mesi in State Senate Race

Buffalo, NY – Republican Chris Lee won the tightly contested 26th Congressional district seat in Tuesday's election, defeating Democrat Alice Kryzan 55 to 40 percent. Lee will succeed fellow Republican Tom Reynolds, who is retiring from elective office.

There was an upset in a regional House race. Incumbent Republican Randy Kuhl lost his re-election bid to Democrat Eric Massa in the 29th Congressional district that includes Cattaraugus County.

Democrats Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter were re-elected in the 28th and 27th districts respectively.

In the State Senate, Republican Michael Ranzenhofer won his race against Democrat Joe Mesi to win the 61st district seat being vacated by Mary Lou Rath. Political observers thought the race would be key in the hopes of Republicans to retain control of the Senate. But Republican losses elsewhere in New York allowed the Democrats to capture the Senate. That gives the party control of the full Legislature and governor's office for the first time since 1935.

In the 58th Senate district, incumbent Democrat William Stachowski overcame a strong challenge from Republican Dennis Delano to win re-election while incumbent Republican Dale Volker's strong showing in rural parts of his sprawling district allowed him to win re-election over Democratic challenger Kathy Konst in the 59th district.

Democrat Frank Sedita defeated Republican Diane LaVallee and will succeed Frank Clark as Erie County District Attorney.

At Republican headquarters at the Marriott Hotel Tuesday night, WBFO's Eileen Buckley talked with Russ Gugino, the Western New York coordinator of John McCain's presidential campaign.