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Incumbents & newcomers come out ahead in town races

It is good to be an incumbent in Cheektowaga, where all of them, including Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, were returned to office.Richard Rusuniak was also elected to take over the remainder of the term by ousted councilmember James Rogowski. Early Wednesday morning, Benczkowski announced in a statement that Councilmember Christine Adamczyk will serve as Deputy Supervisor immediately. Councilmember Brian Nowak has served in this role since August 2018.

The Lackawanna Mayor's race was easy to predict, as Democrat Annette Iafallo ran unopposed. Iafallo is Council President and was recommended by outgoing Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski, who decided not to run again. Democrat Frederic Marrano will now take over as Council President.

In Clarence, Republican Patrick Casilio also ran unopposed for Supervisor. Voters totaling 7,141 turned out in support of him.

In the Town of Tonawanda, Democrat Joseph Emminger easily sailed to victory over Republican Charles Sankey, winning 70% of total votes. Emminger was Deputy in 2015 when he won his first term, after the retirement of Supervisor Anthony Caruana.

In Amherst, there is one new and one returning member of the Town Board. Republican Joseph Spino is the newcomer, beating Democrat Michael Szukala by nearly 700 votes. Szukala had been ahead in the tally until late in the evening. Incumbent Deborah Bruch Bucki was returned to office with more votes than any of the four candidates on the pick-any-two ballot.

It is back to the future in Orchard Park, where residents overwhelmingly voted to add two former seats back to the Town Board. The board had been downsized to three members seven years ago. However, by a roughly 65%-35% vote, residents decided a single supervisor and two board members was not enough. After elections, two new board members will take office in 2022 and serve staggered terms: one for two years to start and the other for four years.

The race for Grand Island Supervisor was close throughout the night. In the end, however, John Whitney, running on the Republican and Independent Party lines, took the three-way race by about 1,000 votes. Democrat James Sharpe came in second, with Conservative Thomas Franz pulling up the rear.

Dave Debo's journalism career runs the gamut from public radio to commercial radio, from digital projects to newspapers. With over 30 years of experience, he's produced national television news programs and has worked as both a daily and weekly print journalist and web editor.