Western New Yorkers are going to the polls for what is expected to be a lightly attended primary election. A hotly contested race for Erie County District Attorney is on the ballot, along with State Senate, Assembly and judicial delegates.
In the race for DA, Democrats have the choice of incumbent Michael Flaherty, former Assistant District Attorney Mark Sacha and Tonawanda Town Attorney John Flynn. Flynn is also the endorsed Conservative candidate. Rounding out the Conservative primary ballot is Joe Treanor, a retired Air Force colonel and judge advocate who participated in the prosecution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
A number of State Senate and Assembly seats are up for election. In the 60th District - which encompasses Buffalo north to Niagara Falls and south to Irving - Republicans Chris Jacobs and Kevin Stocker have been in a heated race. Jacobs is currently Erie County Clerk, while Kenmore Attorney Stocker previously defeated incumbent Mark Grisanti in the 2014 primary.
Democrats have the choice of former Delaware District Common Councilmember Al Coppola and endorsed Democrat Amber Small, Executive Director of the Parkside Community Association. They are all vying for the Senate seat vacated by Marc Panepinto.
In the 61st State Senate District - which encompasses the northtowns of Amherst, Clarence and Newstead eastward to Rochester - incumbent Michael Razenhofer is facing a challenge by Working Party candidates Andre Liszka and Erie County Legislator Tom Loughran.
In the Assembly, two Green Party candidates are running for the 140th District - which spans from North Tonawanda south to Buffalo's Black Rock - against longtime incumbent Robin Schimminger.
Another race is in the Cheektowaga-Lancaster 143rd Assembly District, vacated by Angela Wozniak. Voters will find two candidates on the Democrat party line: University at Buffalo law professor Monica Wallace and former television news reporter Kristy Mazurek.
In the Pendleton-to-Wiliamsville 146th District, incumbent Assemblymember Ray Walter is facing a challenge from Douglas Wippert on the Conservative line, Dorothy Sobczyk on the Green Party line and Rachel Obenauer on the Independent line. Walter also has a spot on the Conservative and Independent ballots.
Voters also are being asked to cast their ballot for a number of Judicial Delegates on this primary day. Unlike the other political positions, each political party elects judicial delegates. Their main responsibility is to attend a convention where they elect individuals to the New York State Supreme Court. Delegates are not paid, serve a two-year term and must reside in the Assembly district where they are running.
The state Attorney General is reminding voters of his hotline to help resolve any barriers encountered at the polls. That hotline at 800-771-7755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. The hotline is staffed by attorneys and staff in the office's Civil Rights Bureau.