All I can say is WOW! I don't ever recall such an obliteration of the Niagara County Democratic Party like what occurred last night.
Let's start with the County Legislature. Every single GOP-backed candidate won except Jason Murgia. That surprised no one. Ric Marasco's win in the Primary Election ensured his win last night. The county legislature race that is sending shock waves through the Niagara Dems is the loss by Nick Melson to Vince Sandonato in the 5th LD. Melson, a legislative aide for Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, was thought to have the resources of DelMonte and Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster behind him. The 23 year-old Sandonato pulled a whopping 56% of the vote. This loss is especially disconcerting to the Dems considering it was held by a Dem for over two decades. DelMonte should be extremely concerned with the prospect of facing off against Sandonato in a few years.
The other race the Niagara Dems were counting in the "Win" column was Chris Perna over Russ Rizzo in the 9th Legislative District, the seat vacated by Andrea McNulty, in the heart of NC Dem Chairman Dan Rivera's home turf. Rizzo won with 55%.
While I'm sure there was some token attempt by the Dems to put up opposition in other Legislature races, the results didn't fair well for their efforts. Butch Farnham pulled 65% in the 7th LD; Bill Ross won with 69% in the 8th LD, Pete Smolinski pulled 57% in the 10th LD; John Ceretto won with 64% in the 12th LD; and in the 15th LD, Tony Nemi won with 61%. Not many close races.
The GOP will maintain its current 14-5 super-majority.
Three other races around the county have devastated the Niagara Dems. In Lewiston, Republican Steve Reiter crushed incumbent Fred Newlin 55% - 39%, in North Tonawanda, Rob Ortt annihilated incumbent Mayor Larry Soos 66% - 34% and in Wheatfield, Bob Cliffe beat Sam Conti 59% - 41%.
The wins in North Tonwanda and Lewiston are crushing defeats of DelMonte. She only had three political allies left in Niagara County, the two who were defeated last night, and Dyster. Yesterday's election leaves her with just Dyster, which is just fine, they deserve each other.
What this means for Rivera remains to be seen. He'll probably remain on as chairman simply because no one wants the job. The GOP is okay with that.
Lastly, hats off to Niagara County GOP Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, he had another phenomenal election - a much better election than Ed Cox.
Oh, one more thing - we at Niagara Times would like to point out that we accurately predicted every race that we had prognosticated last week. In fact, we called Cliffe with 57%, Reiter with 54% & Ortt with 60. They pulled 59%, 55% & 66% respectively. Hey, when you're good, you're good.