Political news

Kennedy declares victory in State Senate primary

Sep 28, 2012
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.

Local democrat reacts to Romney remarks

Sep 19, 2012
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.

Landslide victory for Grisanti

Sep 14, 2012
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.

Marriage equality included in democratic platform

Sep 5, 2012
Photo provided by Kitty and Cheryle Lambert-Rudd

Two Western New Yorkers are attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte representing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community.  WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley says for the party has added Same Sex Marriage to its platform.

Jamestown City Council president Gregory Rabb is serving as a delegate.  But Rabb -- who is an openly gay member of the community -- is also taking part in the LGBT caucus at the DNC.

"There are 6,000 delegates and about close to 600 are Lesbian, Gay or Transgender. So it is an historic moment," said Rabb.

WBFO News photo

The state’s ethics board held a closed door meeting Tuesday and is believed to be discussing whether to investigate Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez and possibly the Assembly Speaker, over a sexual harassment scandal.

Masiello abandons pursuit of party post

Sep 5, 2012
WBFO News photo

Former Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello has ended speculation of a return to politics as the Chair of the Erie County Democratic Party.

In a statement released from his lobbying group, Masiello, Martucci, Calabrese and Associates, Masiello cited professional and personal reasons behind the decision.

Upon the urging of Governor Cuomo, Masiello had sought the support of key Democrats in an effort to replace outgoing chairman Len Lenihan.

Local Democratic boss skipping national convention

Sep 4, 2012
WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The Democratic National Convention begins tonight in Charlotte, North Carolina, with most of the party's political operatives expected to attend, but the head of Erie County's Democrats, Len Lenihan, won't be  making the trip.

While conventions can be fun and he's been to some, the Erie County boss is more concerned about the election next week, with some key local races on the ballot.

That includes races like the Senate fight between County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant and State Senator Tim Kennedy.

Gearing up for political convention coverage

Aug 27, 2012

WBFO & AM 970 will carry  NPR's special programming for national convention coverage.

The GOP National Convention will be held in Tampa August 27-30.  WBFO & AM 970 will provide extensive, on-air coverage each night beginning at 7 p.m. with a special, live edition of On Point, followed by NPR coverage.

Voting to formally nominate the Republican Party's presidential and vice presidential nominees is on the agenda in Tampa .

Remark by Lancaster supervisor outrages unions

Aug 21, 2012

A recent remark the Lancaster Town supervisor made about government employees has unleashed a strong response from the Civil Service Employees Association. 

CSEA members and labor demonstrated at last night's town board meeting against supervisor Dino Fudoli. Fudoli was asked to retract his statement when he referred to government employees as a "non-producing part of society."

"I said let me make myself very clear. I am not anti-public employee, I am just pro-taxpayer. Wouldn't that tell you right there I am not against public employees?", said Fudoli.             

WBFO News file photo

A few weeks ago Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Buffalo announcing a preliminary deal for expansion of the Peace Bridge plaza.  The state will buy two-blocks of Busti Avenue for $15-million in order to demolish a row of historic homes and the former Episcopal Church Home where a duty free store would be built.

But as WBFO & AM-970'S Eileen Buckley reports, some West Side residents are upset with these plans that they say would further harm the air quality and a historic neighborhood.

WBFO News photos

The race for the 27th Congressional District is a dead heat, that according to a recent poll conducted by the Buffalo News, WGRZ and Sienna College.

The poll found a mere 2% edge for Republican Chris Collins over incumbent Democrat Kathy Hochul. The margin of error for the poll is near 4%.  7% of those queried remain undecided.

Candidates haggle over tax returns

Aug 16, 2012
WBFO News photo

Tax returns took center stage this week in the heated battle for the 27th Congressional district.

Earlier this week, Democratic Representative Kathy Hochul offered the public a look at the her salary and that of her husnand, U.S. Attorney William Hochul.

The figures produced fodder for her Republican foe, Chris Collins, who said the Hochuls have become millionaire's on the backs of taxpayers.

"She's not really this middle class person she pretends to be," said Collins.

Congresswoman Hochul refuted the attacks.

The head of the State’s Republican Party predicts that the choice of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential candidate will be helpful in some portions of New York State.

New York’s GOP Chair Ed Cox says Ryan’s position as number two on the Republican ticket in November could aid the GOP congressional candidates around the state, who are already identified as strong fiscal conservatives.

“I think it’s going to play very well in New York State, “said Cox.  

Photo NYS Court of Appeals Website

In the next couple of years, Governor Andrew Cuomo may have the chance to shape the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, as several judges reach the end of their terms or the mandatory retirement age. It’s an opportunity no New York governor has had in a generation. 

In the next couple of years, Governor Andrew Cuomo may have the chance to shape the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, as several judges reach the end of their terms or the mandatory retirement age. It’s an opportunity no New York governor has had in a generation.

Governor Cuomo defended his administration against criticisms that he has not been transparent enough, saying he’s trying to do more.

Governor Cuomo defended his record of releasing documents and other information to the public, saying his administration has taken “unprecedented steps” and has gone to “exorbitant” levels to communicate.  Cuomo was the target of newspaper editorial recently that criticized him for being secretive and controlling in his handling of archive files during his time as Attorney General, among other things.

Photo from City of Buffalo Website

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder has fired his chief auditor.  WBFO and AM 970's Mark Scott talks with Jim Heaney of the website http://investigativepost.org, who broke the story with WGRZ television.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

The campaign account for state Senator George Maziarz is growing to considerable proportions.

The latest tally shows him approaching the $1 million dollar mark with more than one quarter of that amount coming in the last six months. The GOP senator's Democratic opponent in the race for the 62nd District, Amy Witryol, has raised better than $11 thousand, and his party primary challenger, Johnny Destino, is reporting no financial activity.

Maziarz is getting some criticism for receiving significant monies from unions and corporate interests.

Candidate Long takes her shot with local voters

Jul 18, 2012

Wendy Long, the Republican candidate looking to unseat U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, met briefly with reporters in Buffalo Tuesday.  
Siena Research Institute's Greenberg says Long gained no momentum from last month's GOP primary. Greenberg says Gillibrand has a commanding 62-to-25-percent lead over her challenger.

"Wendy Long has a very steep, uphill climb," Greenberg said.   

After a campaign swing across New York, Long spoke to reporters at the Buffalo Airport before flying back to New York City.  

WBFO News file photo

Debate continues in Washington and locally over extension of the so-called Bush-era tax cuts. 

Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Hochul called Monday for extension of the tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000 a year.   But Republican congressional candidate Chris Collins says the tax cuts should be extended for everyone.  

Collins talked about it with WBFO & AM-970's Jim Ranney.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul said middle-tax tax cuts should become permanent. 

"Let's just stop the fighting. Don't hold people in this country hostage any longer," said Rep. Hochul.  "Tell the middle class families that those tax cuts will be permanent."

The tax-breaks, in place since 2003, will expire at the end of this year.  President Obama is pushing for  an extension.  

But Hochul wants tax cuts for those earning less than $500,000 a year to keep to stay in place without an expiration date.

Photo from the Facebook page of Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy

Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney raised an estimated $1.25 million during two political fundraisers in Buffalo Friday afternoon.

After arriving just after 3 p.m. at Prior Aviation in Cheekotwaga, police and secret service escorted Romney to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. That’s were guests paid $2,500 to hear Romney speak.