Republican Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard was re-elected to a third term Tuesday, declaring victory over challengers Richard Dobson and Bert Dunn. County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw enjoyed a comfortable win over Democrat Kevin Gaughan.
Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard says he believes his opposition to New York's gun control law, known as the SAFE Act, played a role in his re-election.
"I think what happened is that Albany did not recognize that the people of this country cared as much as they do about the Constitution," Howard told reporters.
"Not just the Second Amendment, but the entire Constitution. I'm certain this played a role in that. I'm glad people are waking up and paying attention. The SAFE Act is not just about guns. It's about our rights and the Constitution."
Howard says he plans to reach out to one of his opponents, Bert Dunn, who is a lieutenant in the department.
"Bert Dunn made several comments about knowing where there were problems, knowing where there were inefficiencies, knowing where there (is) waste within the Sheriff's office. I want to ask him specifically where are those areas," Howard said.
"I hope he can articulate some. If there are, in fact, areas of waste, he should have told us about before. But it's important that he tell us about it now so we could do something about it."
In the race for Erie County Comptroller, former TV journalist Stephan Mychajliw defeated attorney and community activist Kevin Gaughan.
Mychajliw rejects arguments he's using his office as a stepping stone to something bigger. Last night, he told WBFO News he plans to spend the next four years as the county's chief fiscal watchdog.
"I think I got the best job in the world. I get to go to work every single day and I get to fight for taxpayers and I get to hold politicians in power accountable. I got the greatest job in the world and I really look forward right now to serving and working as hard as I can as County Comptroller."
In defeat, Gaughan told supporters he had fought the good fight and left the race with his head held high. He also suggested Mychajliw had slung mud in the race.
"Like every Western New Yorker, I look forward to the day when political campaigns have nothing to do with negative advertising," Gaughan said.
"It has eroded this terrific profession. I think someday it has to and will come to an end."
Campaign ads focused on Gaughan's admission he hadn't paid all of his income taxes.
Mychajliw, acknowledging the county's heavy Democratic base, offered no apologies.
"We were down 140,000 to nothing before the race began, just based on enrollment numbers," Mychajliw said.
"I think the people spoke loud and clear about their desire to have an independent watchdog in the office of comptroller. People spoke loud and clear that they want future generations of taxpayers to be protected and not burdened with increased spending and with bills ten years from now that we should be paying right now."