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Garcia is the apparent winner in the Erie County Sheriff race

(left to right) Ted DiNoto, John Garcia and Kim Beaty debate in October.
Mike Desmond
(left to right) Ted DiNoto, John Garcia and Kim Beaty debate in October. At the end of election night, Garcia led the vote count.

It looks as if Erie County will have its third-consecutive Republican sheriff, with retired Buffalo cop John Garcia the apparent winner.

The result is somewhat surprising to many political analysts, since the battle for mayor of Buffalo and its voter turnout was expected to give Democratic sheriff candidate Kimberly Beaty the sheriff's badge. It didn't.

Garcia worked hard and raised a lot of money and knocked on a lot of doors. If his margin holds through the absentee ballot count, Garcia will succeed Patrick Gallivan and Tim Howard in the sheriff's office at 10 Delaware Ave.

Conservative County Chairman Ralph Lorigo said it was a tough race and Garcia worked hard in that complicated process.

"Obviously, the mayor's race would have a major effect on countywide races on the Republican side and so we were always concerned about that. But even though that was the case, with Garcia, we obviously still are ahead of the game and we're in good territory," Garcia said.

County Republican Chairman Karl Simmeth said Garcia earned the job.

"I was just up in our War Room and it looks pretty good. John has worked very hard on this campaign. After he won the primary, I congratulated him. I said I was with him 110% and I have worked with him since the first day after the primary. I'll tell you what, John is a cop's cop," Simmeth said.

The sheriff's position is important to Town of Boston resident Simmeth because policing in his town is done by the Sheriff's Department and the State Police.

Most of the shouting in the campaign centered on the Holding Center and its fatalities. There was little attention to the policing and road patrol operations of the department, important to much of the county.

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.