After months of campaigning, media events, saturated airwaves and good old-fashioned shaking hands and kissing babies, the 2013 political season ends tonight when Election Day polls close at 9 o’clock.
At least for those at the respective party headquarters, the big prize may be control of the Erie County Legislature, where Democrats now hold a 6-5 majority but Republicans consider within their grasp.
Other major contests include the countywide posts of sheriff and comptroller, usually “off year” races overshadowed by an election for mayor of Buffalo. But with most observers concluding that the Democratic primary Sept. 10 settled that race in heavily Democratic Buffalo, attention is focused on the race for sheriff featuring Republican incumbent Timothy B. Howard, Democrat Richard E. Dobson, and Bert D. Dunn on a minor-party line called Law and Order.
For comptroller, Democratic challenger Kevin P. Gaughan has waged a spirited contest against Republican incumbent Stefan I. Mychajliw.
Suburban contests are also dominating the ballot, especially in larger towns. In Amherst, Republican Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein is being challenged by Democrat Mark A. Manna; in Orchard Park, Democratic incumbent Janis A. Colarusso is being opposed in the race for supervisor by Republican Patrick J. Keem.
Another big race for supervisor is in Hamburg, where Republican incumbent Steven J. Walters. is being challenged by Democrat Walter L. Rooth III. In the City of Tonawanda, voters will choose between Republican Mayor Ronald J. Pilozzi and Democratic challenger Rick Davis.
Also, voters will choose a State Supreme Court justice to fill the position of retired Janice M. Rosa. Democrat Mark A. Montour, a Lancaster town justice, is facing Paul B. Wojtaszek, a Niagara County GOP legislator.
There are six state proposals, highlighted by one to expand casino gambling. Another would let retired Supreme Court justices serve on an appointed basis until 80. Two others would allow Adirondack land swaps.
Polls open at 6 a.m.