Democratic incumbent Mark Poloncarz cruised to victory Tuesday over his Republican challenger Ray Walter, earning a second four-year term as Erie County Executive.
Unofficial results have Poloncarz taking 65% of the vote to Walter's 34%. Green Party candidate Eric Jones placed a distant third with 1%.
Walter, who sits on the state Assembly, conceded to Poloncarz around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. His concession speech was followed by Poloncarz's victory remarks from Democratic party celebration from the Hotel @ The Lafayette.
"We came up short, but I couldn't be more proud of the campaign we ran," Walter said in conceding defeat.
Poloncarz ran on his record, touting population and job gains, repairs to county roads, and his lauded response to last November's major snowstorm.
"We're not done yet. The best is yet to come," Poloncarz said from the stage.
Walter, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction that, even in defeat, he was able to bring some of his ideas to the public's attention. He'd like to see the Legislature, which retained its Republican majority, take up his proposed sales tax plan, which adjusts revenue distribution and provides more to the suburbs.
"For 40 years we've been operating under the same agreement," he said. "We need to take time and see where we can make some changes. Are they the exact changes I proposed? Maybe not, but we need to come up with some way to modernize that sales tax agreement."
Walter also suggested he'd like to see the county consider his plan to create "growth and opportunity zones" to foster economic development in parts of the county he says has not seen investment in decades.
The runner-up has one more year left on his term in State Assembly. Walter told WBFO he has "every intention of running for re-election."