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Anti-establishment Democrat Kearns, running on Republican line, wins Erie County Clerk's seat

Michael Mroziak

A registered Democrat running on the Republican ticket won the seat of Erie County Clerk in Tuesday’s Elections, beating out a political newcomer.

“The voters want somebody that fights for the little guy…someone that has done that his entire career. Mickey Kearns is our next County Clerk,” announced Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy during last night’s election results celebration

Kearns won the seat of County Clerk by a four point margin, calling the victory one for the people, as he touted his anti-establishment approach to the political arena.

“A Democrat running on the Republican line to win an office. Never been done before,” Kearns said.

As results poured in through the night, it was a neck-and-neck race. But when the final tally came, both Kearns and Langworthy took shots at Democrats for what they called an attempt to buy the office with six figures of financial support. Kearns then focused on his aims as Clerk – saying it would hold banks accountable and make the office the most accessible in Erie County government.

“This is a win for the voters of Erie County. This is a win for the little guy and the people out there who need help from this Clerk’s office,” said Kearns.

Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News
Steve Cichon concedes the race for Erie County Clerk

Democratic opponent Steve Cichon conceded the race late in the night, calling it an uphill battle – and one from which he learned a lot as a political newcomer. Cichon was optimistic about the impact Kearns would make as Clerk, but noted that he’s got a short time in which to do it.

“He’s got a year to make things better. And that’s what I was telling people as I was knocking on doors. We’ve got one year in this end-of-Chris Jacobs term. So, he’d better do a good job because there might be somebody else, probably not me – I know that’s your next question – that is going to make sure that he does it.”

As a sitting State Assemblyman, Kearns will be forced to resign before becoming the Clerk, though he said there’s still work left to be done as he makes the transition – namely finalizing effort to keep the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center open.

As for Cichon, leaders of the Democratic Party in Erie County are already forecasting this won’t be the last time voters see his name on the ballot. Cichon said he hasn’t given it much thought yet, but that the last eight months have gotten him to fall in love with the idea of public service.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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