on November 6, 2013 - 12:01 AM
Hamburg Democrats, beating the drum of turmoil in Town Hall, appear to have won control of the Town Board, but incumbent Supervisor Steven J. Walters was clinging to a small lead Tuesday night.
Walters, a Republican, and Democrat Walter Rooth III, traded the lead Tuesday night as the results came in to the Erie County Board of Elections.
This race may come down to about 700 absentee ballots that still must be counted.
Walters, 38, ran a strong campaign, banking on his record as a fiscal conservative to resonate with voters.
Rooth, the son of the town justice with the same name, pledged to return civility to Town Hall.
Whoever wins the top spot, it appears he will work with two new representatives to the Town Board.
Incumbent Republican Councilwoman Amy Carroll Ziegler, a confidential law clerk to State Supreme Court Justice Frederick J. Marshall, was losing the four-year term to Democrat Michael P. Quinn Jr., an attorney.
Lackawanna teacher Cheryl Potter-Juda was holding a slim lead over Lawrence J. Speiser, president and chief executive officer of FlashFlo Manufacturing, for the two-year term, Tuesday night.
If the numbers hold, that would mean the Town Board would have at least two Democrats, a turnaround from the 2-1 majority Republicans have enjoyed for two years.
Supporters were glum at Republican headquarters for much of the night, as results coming in had Democrats beating Republicans. Walters declined to be photographed and declined to comment.
“I’ve got no comment right now. Just watching the results come in,” he said at about 10:30 p.m.
Rooth was cautiously optimistic, but he said, “I don’t know which districts have reported.”
Walters was hoping to reach enough people with his message of results at Town Hall.
“We started out with 10,000 palm cards to hand out,” he said, adding that at the end of last week he was scrounging around for more while campaigning. “That gives you an idea of the number of doors we’ve knocked on.”
Walters was looking forward to the opening of the new senior, recreation and youth services building on Southwestern Boulevard.
Rooth, a former assistant district attorney, battled an incumbent who outspent him, and he counted on Hamburg’s Democratic enrollment edge for a victory.
There are 5,800 more Democrats than Republicans.
“I think it’s turnout,” he said before the vote was counted. “I think if people come out and vote, that will bode well for me.”
The 45-year-old attorney had pledged to repair the image of the town, protect neighborhoods from improper zoning and improve town recreation facilities. He said that he would institute monthly department head reviews of spending, monitor overtime and evaluate projects such as Woodlawn Beach State Park.
Highway Superintendent Tom Best defeated his opponent Ted Casey, the health, safety and environmental manager at Dresser-Rand.
Best was elected to a second term as voters agreed with his question, “Why would anybody want to change what is happening in the Town of Hamburg today?”
Town Justice Gerald P. Gorman was unopposed for another four-year term.
Chris Gordon contributed to this report. email: firstname.lastname@example.org