Settling the races
Absentees confirm Rosas victory, finalize others
MAYVILLE — After two weeks of waiting, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas officially earned a second four-year term in office.
Rosas, a Democrat, and Republican-opponent Shaun Heenan were present for the official counting of absentee ballots and affidavit ballots inside the Chautauqua County Board of Elections office in Mayville.
With more than 100 additional votes considered, Rosas defeated Heenan 1,660 votes to 1,601 votes, respectively. The final results were provided by the Board of Elections website.
“I want to thank all of my supporters and especially my family, my wife and my children and my two brothers,” Rosas said. “It was a tough election, but now that the election is over we need to unite and move the city forward. We do that by working together and making decisions that are in the best interests of the city.”
Joined by Democratic Commissioner of Elections Norm Green and Republican Commissioner of Elections Brian Abram, the mayoral candidates, alongside attorneys, combed through absentee and affidavit ballots early Monday morning in order to declare an official winner of the city of Dunkirk’s contested race.
While holding a lead on election night, Rosas admitted that the last two weeks were still worrisome.
“Definitely, there was a lot of anxiety. The not knowing is almost worse than losing,” Rosas said. “Again, I just want to thank all the supporters — everyone who came out to vote. I have a lot of people who came out to vote and supported me and I hope I don’t let them down. I thank them for having faith in me.”
After votes were tallied — which Green noted were still unofficial until further review — Rosas retained his lead he held on election night, Nov. 5. Rosas had been up 1,590 votes to 1,542 votes for Heenan.
Rosas became the first elected Hispanic mayor of any city in New York state when he won the 2016 Dunkirk mayoral race.
Rosas acknowledged the potential impact of the tightly-contested race by calling for his supporters and detractors to come together following his win.
“We’ve made positive changes in the city and we are going to continue to make positive changes in the city,” Rosas said. “We’ve seen a lot good things happen not just in the city of Dunkirk but in Western New York. We are connected to the governor’s office and high officials in Albany and we’re going to continue to pursue that support so that we can continue to do good things and make positive changes in the city of Dunkirk.”
Other close races were being tallied early Monday as well including races for Falconer Village Board, Ripley Town Council, Cherry Creek Town Council and Jamestown City Council Ward 1.
In Cherry Creek, Bruce Hendricks, a Republican, earned a council seat with 137 votes. Ryan Lepp, a Democrat, also won a seat with 113 votes. Matthew West, a Democrat, received 107 votes.
In Ripley, Michael Rowe, a Democrat, received 375 votes and Phillip Chimera, a Republican, received 313 votes, earning both candidates a spot on the council. Chimera was tied with Laurel Adams, a Democrat, at the end of election night at 308 votes. Adams was defeated by a vote with 312 votes tallied in total after Monday.
In Jamestown, Brent Sheldon, a Republican, defeated Timothy Smeal, a Democrat, 399 votes to 380 votes.
In Falconer, Phil Ribaudo, a write-in candidate, received the most write-in votes with four to fill a vacancy on the Falconer Village Board.