Two primaries highlight legislature elections

MAYVILLE — There will be two primaries and 12 unopposed races in this year’s election for the 19 seats in the Chautauqua County Legislature.

April 4 was the deadline to file political party election petitions at the Chautauqua County Board of Elections for offices that will be on the November 2019 ballot. The two primaries will take place in District 1, representing the city of Dunkirk and part of the town of Dunkirk, and District 18, representing the towns of Chautauqua, Sherman and Mina.

In District 18, there will be a new member of the legislature with current representative David Himelein dying April 5. The primary, as of now, would have Richard Syper and William Ward facing off against each other in a Republican primary. Before his death, The Committee To Fill Vacancies filed a petition for Himelein. According to Brian Abram, Chautauqua County Board of Elections Republican commissioner, the committee that selected Himelein for the Republican Party could name another candidate to run if they choose.

Syper has also filed a petition for the Conservative Party while Ward has also filed a petition for the Democrat, Independence and Working Families parties.

In District 1, incumbent Kevin Muldowney, R-Dunkirk, will be challenged by Ronald Hall in a Republican primary election. Muldowney also has filed a petition for the Independence Party so even if he doesn’t win the Republican primary he will be on the November ballot. Hall too will be on the November ballot win or lose in the Republican primary because he has filed a petition for the Conservative Party. Along with Muldowney and Hall, Phillips Collier will also be on the ballot on Election Day, Nov. 5, because he filed a petition for the Democratic Party.

County primaries will take place Tuesday, June 25.

For the candidates running unopposed, 11 of the 12 are incumbent candidates. The one unopposed race that doesn’t involve an incumbent is in District 11 where former Chautauqua County Legislator Robert Whitney is the only candidate to file petitions — Democratic and Working Families parties. David Wilfong, R-Jamestown, is the current representative for District 11, but he has been endorsed by the Jamestown Republican Committee to run for mayor. Wilfong will be facing a primary election in June against Jamestown City Councilman Andrew Liuzzo, At-Large. Win or lose the Republican primary, Wilfong will be on the November ballot because he has filed a petition for the Conservative Party. Eddie Sundquist, who has filed petitions for the Democratic, Independent and Working Families parties, will also be on the Election Day ballot.

The incumbent candidates running unopposed include Robert Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, in District 2; Mark Odell, R-Brocton, in District 7; Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point, in District 8; Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, in District 9; Chautauqua County Legislature Chairman Paul Wendel, R-Lakewood, in District 10; Paul Whitford, D-Jamestown, in District 13; Daniel Pavlock, R-Sinclairville, in District 14; Lisa Vanstrom, R-Jamestown; in District 15; John Davis, R-Frewsburg, in District 16; Frank J. Gould, R-Ashville; in District 17; and John Hemmer, R-Westfield, in District 19.

For contested races, incumbent Robert Scudder, R-Fredonia, who has filed petitions for the Conservative and Republican parties in District 3 will be challenged by Christopher Schaeffer, who has filed petitions for the Democrat, Independence and Working Families parties.

In District 4, incumbent Christine Starks, D-Fredonia, who has filed petitions for the Democrat, Independence and Working families parties, will face off against Melanie Mann, who filed petitions for the Conservative and Republican parties.

In District 5, incumbent Terry Niebel, R-Sheridan, who has filed petitions for Conservative, Independence and Republican parties, will be challenged by Jeffry Sayers, who filed petitions for the Democrat and Working Families parties.

In District 6, incumbent Kevin O’Connell, D-Silver Creek, who has filed petitions for the Democrat, Independence and Working Families parties, will face off against Thomas Harmon, who has filed petitions for the Conservative and Republican parties.

In District 12, incumbent Elisabeth Rankin, R-Jamestown, who filed petitions for the Conservative, Independence and Republican parties, will be challenged by Margaret Cornell, who has filed a petition for the Democrat Party.

Currently, the Republican party holds a 14-5 majority in the 19 seat legislature. In November, eight of the incumbent Republican members are running unopposed while four Democratic candidates have no opposition. To keep the majority, the Republican party would only have to win two of the seven contested races.

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