It was not your usual way to await election results. Instead of the traditional crowded room, the Erie County Democratic Committee's campaign hub was a quiet update center where only candidates and media mingled. But as WBFO's Michael Mroziak tells us, the different conditions didn't prevent some local candidates from basking in big wins.
"Welcome everybody. Welcome Erie County Democrats. Welcome to our virtual, online 2020 Election Night celebration," was the greeting issued by Erie County Democratic Party Secretary Jennifer Hibit.
There were no party faithful moving about the room, no bar or snacks and no noise. Only a podium, some TV cameras and radio equipment, and occasional candidates coming out to speak.
That's how COVID changed election night activities for Erie County Democrats: it was an online watch party, although candidates stopped by to speak of their races.
Sean Ryan, who has been representing New York's 149th Assembly District, is heading to the State Senate. He won the race for the 60th District, vacated when previous representative Chris Jacobs moved on to Congress.
"I said this race was going to be about kitchen-table issues -- economic growth, high-road economics, cleaning up brownfields, protecting our waterways from polluters and giving public access to the waterways to the public," Ryan said. "Those are issues that I will go to Albany and I will fight for."
However, Ryan said the state's economy and Western New York's economic growth cannot be restored until COVID19 is kept under control.
Another local Democratic victory of note -- Town of Tonawanda Councilman William Conrad -- won the race for the 143rd Assembly District. He will take the seat from the retiring Robin Schimminger, who held it for more than four decades.