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Democrat Beaty and GOP Garcia primary upsets make for crowded Sheriff's ballot in November

Erie County Holding Center Front Entrance

After Tuesday night's primary elections, the November ballot for Erie County Sheriff will be crowded with a Democrat, a Republican, a Conservative and an Independent all hoping to replace incumbent Sheriff Tim Howard who is not running again.

In the Democratic Party primary, Kimberly Beaty beat endorsed Democrat Brian Gould and Myles Carter for the Democratic line in November. Beaty is a former Buffalo Police deputy commissioner currently serving as the public safety director at Canisius College. An African American woman, she initially dropped out of the Sheriff's race accusing the party of being biased against her before supporters urged her back into the race.

"I assured her that Democrats will unite to reclaim a Sheriff’s office marred by 16 years of scandal and mismanagement, a legacy the GOP candidate has eagerly embraced with Tim Howard’s endorsement, " said party chairman Jeremy Zellner in a prepared statement after Beaty's victory became apparent with 50% of the vote, compared to Gould's 30% and Carter's 10%.

On the Republican side, former Buffalo officer John Garcia beat Karen Healy Case for the Republican line although, for the moment, Healy-Case will stay on the ballot as the Conservative candidate for the county's top law enforcement post. Healy-Case was endorsed by the Republicans after first being selected by the Conservative party. On the Republican ballot, she received 40% of the vote, while Garcia garnered 49%.

Ted DiNoto, a detective in the Amherst Police Department, was also running on the Independence party line and faced no primary challenge Tuesday. On Wednesday, he is expected to address his campaign status and challenges to his ballot status .

Sheriff is the top cop for much of Erie County road patrol and investigative services, while the most visible parts of the job are the Holding Center and the Correctional Facility in Alden. The new sheriff will also have to decide the future of those two facilities, with criminal justice changes leaving both around half full and discussions of merging the two with the operation on one of the current sites, potentially requiring spending a lot of money for re-design and renovation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.