NEWS STAFF REPORTER
It’s probably too early for most voters in the Town of Tonawanda to begin thinking about this fall’s municipal elections, but local Republican leaders are hoping to finalize their slate of candidates next month.
“Right now, our goal is to have everybody in place – or as many of the positions in place – by mid-March,” Mark Tramont, chairman of the Ken-Ton Republican Committee, said Friday.
This fall’s ballot will include three seats on the Tonawanda Town Board, plus highway superintendent. In the Village of Kenmore, two seats on the Village Board and the job of village justice are up for grabs.
“We’ve got a number of people that have come forward,” Tramont said. “I have already interviewed eight or nine individuals for the various positions.”
A selection committee is scheduled to meet later this month to interview potential candidates, then pass their recommendations along to the whole committee.
Tramont said the door still is open for others considering a run for public office; he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Republican Party in Ken-Ton is in a rebuilding phase, with Tramont at the helm since last year.
With the exception of candidates who were cross-endorsed by the local Democratic Committee, no Republicans were victorious in the 2011 local elections. And since 2007, all five members of the Tonawanda Town Board have been Democrats.
Part of the rebuilding process has been increasing the number of committeemen. About a dozen or so have been added in the last three to four months, Tramont said, but with 87 election districts there’s plenty of room for more.
The number of election districts also is a reason to have candidates ready to knock on doors and appear in public forums as soon as possible, Tramont added.
While the committee’s platform remains a work in progress, Tramont said it’ll include the traditional Republican goals for government: smaller, less interference and better quality.
Another challenge facing the GOP is party affiliation.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 6,200 in Ken-Ton, according to the Erie County Board of Election’s 2012 enrollment data. But there are 7,752 voters registered as “blanks,” who could be potential game-changers in a close election.
“There is a reason why they have not signed up to be affiliated with one party or the other,” Tramont said.