Political news

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has won election to her first full term representing New York, fending off a challenge from Republican Wendy Long. 

WBFO News photo by Chirs Caya

Voter turnout was fairly strong Tuesday morning at several polling locations across the area. 

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Koteras Elibol l WNED Art Director l Photographer

The candidates in the feisty race in the 27th Congressional District cast their ballots at their respective polling places Tuesday morning.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The long-awaited Election Day 2012 has arrived.   Polling places across New York State opened at 6 a.m. and will remain open through 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.  

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Although a recent Siena poll shows that republican incumbent Mark Grisanti has a 2-to-1 lead over his democratic opponent in the 60th state Senate race, a debate was held at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Kenmore Wednesday.  

But WBFO'S Eileen Buckley reports asked if Swanick is considered a spoiler in this three-way race.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The candidates vying for the 60th State Senate seat debated issues Wednesday at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Kenmore. 

It was a three-way debate between Republican incumbent Mark Grisanti, Democrat Mike Amodeo and Conservative Chuck Swanick. 

You can click the play button above to hear the entire debate. 

Students questions ranged from same-sex marriage, funding for public schools, the future of the Buffalo Bills' stadium, and proposed pay raises for state lawmakers. 

Candidates also used the debate to take jabs at one another. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

With Election Day getting closer, the Erie County Board of Elections is dealing with an avalanche of absentee ballot applications and the problems of getting absentee ballots to the military overseas because of problems in Albany.

County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr tells WBFO News there may be as many as 26,000 absentee ballots going out by the end of the elections season. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Koteras Elibol l WNED Art Director l Photographer

The candidates in the 27th Congressional District, Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) and former Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R), met for their first debate Tuesday evening at the WNED studios in downtown Buffalo.

Hochul and Collins sparred in a 50-minute debate moderated by WBFO News Director Jim Ranney. The candidates took questions from three area journalists: Bob McCarthy of The Buffalo News, Claudine Ewing of WGRZ-TV and Julie Phillip of WXXI in Rochester, as well as e-mailers.   

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Who was the winner in last night's 27th Congressional District debate? 

Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul faced off against her republican opponent Chris Collins in a debate hosted by WNED-TV and WGRZ-TV. 

WBFO'S Eileen Buckley conducted post-debate analysis with former Republican deputy county executive Carl Calabrese and  former Democratic Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello at the WGRZ studio.  

A veteran of many panels at area political debates, Buffalo News Political Reporter Bob McCarthy believes Tuesday night's debate between Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins was one of the best he has witnessed.

McCarthy was among the panelists at the studios of WNED-TV who posed questions to the candidates in the race for the 27th Congressional district.

As McCarthy sees it, both candidates were very clear in their positions and avoided many of the platitudes that bring little value to political discussions.

Hochul takes fundraising lead

Oct 17, 2012
WBFO News file photo

While the polls show a deadlocked race in the 27th Congressional district, campaign finance reports show Democrat Kathy Hochul surging ahead in the always important money race.

The Buffalo News reports Hochul raised $717,000 in the months of July, August and September, compared to the $321,000 raised by Collins, though the Republican added another $400,000 from his own personal fortune.

The records do not reflect any funds gathered during the October visit from House Speaker John Boehner on behalf of the Collins' campaign.

Congressional debate airs tonight on WBFO and WNED

Oct 16, 2012
WBFO News file photo

A recent poll shows a dead heat in the race for the newly-redrawn 27th Congressional District, which links the suburbs and rural areas between Buffalo and Rochester.

The two candidates will face off tonight in a debate in the WNED studios with a live broadcast on WNED-TV and 88.7 WBFO-FM at 7  p.m.

Incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul won the seat in a special election last year in a district that is heavily Republican. Her GOP challenger is former Erie County Executive Chris Collins.

WBFO News file photo

A recent poll for the 60th State Senate District race has incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti with a sizable lead over his two opponents.  

Grisanti faces opponents Michael Amodeo, a Democrat,  and Chuck Swanick, a Conservative.

WBFO's Chris Jamele and Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly take a close look at this race as well as the Congressional campaign between Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins in this week's Press Pass discussion. 

WBFO News photo from PBS video of debate

For Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan was a victory for the Republican -- a potentially valuable component in a close race.

Langworthy says the Ryan had a chance to show he knew the issues and could stand up against a veteran like Biden, including the troubled economy, which is a key issue in the race.

"Paul Ryan acquitted himself very well in this debate. He showed he's a man of substance and facts and those substance and facts carried the night," Langworthy told WBFO News.

Poll shows Grisanti ahead of challengers

Oct 9, 2012

Despite high-profile attacks on his support of same-sex marriage, Republican State Senator Mark Grisanti appears to be cruising to re-election.

A new Siena poll shows Grisanti leading with 47 percent, compared to 23 percent for Democrat Michael Amodeo and 17 percent for Conservative Party candidate Charles Swanick.

Amodeo defeated Swanick in the Democratic Primary, but the former Erie County Legislator continues to stay in the race.

Working Families Party candidate Gregory Davis drew six percent in the poll.


A State Supreme Court Justice is ordering the Erie County Board of Elections to certify State Senator Tim Kennedy as the winner of his primary against Betty Jean Grant. 

Lawyers for both candidates were in court Friday. 

Grant, chair of the Erie County Legislature, has challenged the results showing Kennedy with a slight lead, arguing some voters went to the wrong polling place. 

Kennedy released a statement saying the Supreme Court review is complete and that he is the winner. 

Photo/logo from University of Denver

Mainstream media and even some liberal commentators say Republican Mitt Romney was the clear winner in Wednesdsay night's Presidential debate against President Barack Obama. 

WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley spoke with Republican political lobbyist Carl Calabrese, who says Romney won "hands down."


New Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner isn't wasting any time getting comfortable with his new title.

On his second day on the job, Zellner is heading to Albany today for the state's Democratic Committee meeting. But he has no plans to meet with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been pushing for a new leader in the county.  

"It's important that our county is represented at our meeting," Zellner said. "It was a last-minute decision. I really haven't set up any meetings."

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

State Senator Tim Kennedy is declaring victory in his primary day contest against Erie County Legislature chairwoman Betty Jean Grant.  

The Erie County Board of Elections has spent the week counting absentee and affidavit ballots after a machine count showed Kennedy with a lead of less than 100 votes. 

Speaking in front of Board of Elections headquarters on West Eagle St. late Friday afternoon, the incumbent democrat says after the week-long ballot count, his lead is now "insurmountable."

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Somewhat predictably, a close State Senate primary race is now working its way through the courts.

State Senator Tim Kennedy and County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant are locked in a struggle over who won the newly re-districted seat, with at least two more days of legal wrangling going on.

On Wednesday, Grant went back to court seeking a ballot by ballot count from the election, claiming the voting machines didn't count some ballots for her and the legal fight at the Board of Elections is costing her votes with Kennedy less than 300 votes ahead.

WBFO News file photo

Absentee and affidavit ballot counting from last Thursday's primary race in the 63rd State Senate District will now be overseen by a State Supreme Court judge.

The Buffalo News reports that Justice Joseph Glownia today agreed to a request for the oversight by candidate Timothy Kennedy, who currently leads Betty Jean Grant by a 91-vote margin.

There are 410 affidavit ballots that have yet to be counted and many of them come from the city, near Grant's home in the Masten District. There is also a significant number of absentee ballots that are still untabulated.

Photo from Mother Jones video

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's statements about nearly half the population are "improper" according to one local lawmaker.  

Romney's comments about not having to worry about  47-percent of Americans who, as he put it, believe they are victims, are inappropriate according to Rep. Kathy Hochul.

Hochul says many of the people Romney is referring to are seniors or low-income workers who do pay federal payroll taxes.  

WBFO News photos

Erie County Board of Elections workers are preparing for the final ballot count in the New York State 63rd Senate race which remains undecided even as more ballots come in.

On Primary Night, the race between State Senator Tim Kennedy and County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant seesawed back and forth, winding up with Kennedy unofficially 271 votes ahead.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward says the current margin is 91 votes and there are more than 1,200 votes to be counted.

WBFO News photo

The man credited with making George W. Bush president says Mitt Romney will be the next president. Karl Rove says Rommey is making a better case for election than President Obama is making for re-election.   

Rove spoke to a packed house at Canisius College Monday night in Buffalo. 

Rove was senior advisor to President George W. Bush and a veteran of many years of political wars in Texas and nationally.

The race for the 63rd State Senate seat is even tighter than first thought. Incumbent Tim Kennedy now holds a 91-vote lead over challenger Betty Jean Grant. The two Democrats faced off in Thursday's primary.

The Buffalo News reports the new vote total was based on data from memory sticks from each voting machine that were examined by the Board of Elections Friday afternoon. Kennedy was initially ahead by 271 votes before the new numbers came in. There are still more than 1,000 absentee votes to be counted.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Incumbent Mark Grisanti won in a landslide in the Republican Primary in the race for the 60th New York State Senate District.

Grisanti was declared the winner after capturing 60% of the vote Thursday night to opponent Kevin Stocker's 40%.

"I accept the nomination of the Republican and Independence party," said Grisanti.

Grisanti delivered his acceptance speech before supporters at the Soho bar on Chippewa in downtown Buffalo with his wife and family by his side. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Now that primary season is over, Erie County Democrats embark on a general election campaign in the midst of a leadership crisis. 

Party chairman Len Lenihan is leaving his post without a clear front-runner in place to succeed him. 

For a while, it looked like former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello would be the new Democratic Party leader.  But he pulled his name from consideration last week, saying he is now committed to the lobbying firm he's a part of. 

Primary 2012: Races

Sep 13, 2012
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Primary 2012 features a challenge for some incumbents in key races. 

For full results click on the links to the Board of Elections in both Erie and Niagara Counties.

WBFO News file photo

The primary election season is heating up locally.   This week's Press Pass conversation looks at the races voters will decide on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

WBFO & AM-970's Chris Jamele sits down with Artvoice editor Geoff Kelly about the candidates.

The state’s Republican Party is turning a familiar Democratic Party accusation back against the Assembly Democrats, who are involved in a sexual harassment scandal.  

New York’s GOP Chair Ed Cox says it’s the Assembly Democrats who are engaging in a “war on women”, after  Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez was censured for sexual harassment, and it was revealed that the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had authorized a previous secret settlement against two other alleged Lopez victims.