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Swarts, Peoples Big Winners in Tuesday's Primary

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Erie County Legislator Crystal Peoples

By Mark Scott, Eileen Buckley & Mark Wozniak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Clerk David Swarts beat back a challenge from former State Assemblyman Fran Pordum in Tuesday's Democratic primary. Swarts captured 61 percent of the vote, compared to Pordum's 39 percent.

Embattled County Democratic Chairman Steve Pigeon supported Pordum after Swarts had challenged Pigeon's party leadership two years ago. Swarts says Pigeon's presence loomed large in the clerk's race.

Pigeon claimed Swarts allowed employees to work on his campaign and make financial contributions. Swarts denied the allegations.

"I think it has reams to say about that, as well as my record as clerk," Swarts said. "I think the public distinguished very clearly between the lies and the falsehoods that were being thrown around about my running of the County Clerk's office."

But Fran Pordum said he doesn't think Steve Pigeon was a factor in his defeat. Pordum said he has no regrets about accepting the support of the party chairman.

"I accepted the support of everyone in this campaign who believed in my candidacy," Pordum said. "And that included Steve. He gave us some help as did the other volunteers who are gathered here."

Pordum continued to hammer away at what he described as the poor customer service Swarts offers at the county's auto bureaus.

Also Tuesday, Democrat Crystal Peoples scored a convincing victory over two rivals in a 141st State Assembly District Democratic primary.

Peoples, a nine-year veteran of the Erie County Legislature, captured 68 percent of the vote. At Large Buffalo Common Council Member Charley Fisher came in second with 24 percent while former County Legislator Greg Olma trailed with just eight percent of the vote.

At her campaign headquarters on Main Street, Peoples said voters identified with her issues, chief among them, the funding of Buffalo schools.

Peoples does have one more hurdle to clear. She faces a November challenge from Clifford Scott, an African-American Republican, who is making his first run for elective office. Scott has some name recognition from his years as quarterback of the UB Bulls football team.

The incumbent, Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur Eve, is retiring.

State senator Byron Brown turned back a challenge from former state senator Al Coppola in the Democratic primary for the 60th district seat.

In local primary day judicial results:

Votes are still being counted in the race for Buffalo City Court. Sharon LoVallo had a slight lead in the Democratic primary over Henry J. Nowak and incumbent judge Margaret Murphy. The two top vote getters will be on the November ballot. William Nowakowski, also trailing on the Democratic ballot, will be on the Republican line in November.

Former Erie County prosecutor Anne Adams won the Republican primary for Erie County judge. On the Democratic side, City Court Judge Shirley Troutman was leading Adams, Thomas Franczyk and Wallace Piotrowski.

In the race for Family Court judge, Republican primary winner and incumbent Kevin Carter trailed Timothy Pawarski in the Democratic race.