Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Common Council, dominated by Republican representation over the last four years, stayed on their roll again Tuesday, capturing every seat up for grabs.
First Ward Alderman Russ Rizzo defeated first-time candidate David Kelly 1,092 to 685, and Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka won over Darlene Bolsover 1,411 to 761.
Both newcomers won handily as well, as Donna Braun beat out Lisa Spencer 826-520. Bob Clark, who was appointed to the council in August, also won his race over Beverly Loxterman to gain the at-large city for a full four-year term by a count of 3,186 to 2,140.
And incumbent City Attorney Shawn Nickerson won a third term over his Democratic opponent, attorney Joshua Dubs, that officials said makes him the longest-tenured city attorney in North Tonawanda history, by a tally of 3,823 to 1,541.
The closest of the races was the at-large contest, with Clark claiming a 60-40 split over Loxterman.
Clark said following the announcement he had won it was time to set politics aside and pivot toward the ideal of serving the community.
“For me, now that the election is over, it’s a group of sincere people sitting around the table saying ‘what can we do to improve the quality of life for the citizens of North Tonawanda?’ “ he said. “At the end of my four-year term if I can say we did that to the best of our ability then I will be satisfied.”
Conceding the overwhelming romp posted by Republicans, Loxterman complimented Clark for a clean campaign and said the Democratic committee clearly requires change.
“I think we need to reorganize our committee and definitely get some more bodies into the Democratic Party,” she said. “And we have to concentrate on some of the minor lines as well. Typically the Working Families Party is aligned with the Democrats, but that’s not happening anymore. The turnout was also factor. It wasn’t a terribly low (turnout) but it was lower than I though it should be.”
Spencer, 36, who lost her Second Ward race, said she will consider running again.
“I wasn’t raised here, my name is not well-known,” she said. “I learned that money matters and I ran on a shoestring budget. I think I did OK. I’ve come to love this city and I want to see it flourish.”
Scott Kiedrowski, the Niagara County GOP chief and North Tonawanda clerk-treasurer, lauded his party’s ability to capture the city’s minor party lines, a fact Democrats have criticized as part of the reason for the Republican hegemony.
Mark Houghton, the North Tonawanda Democratic Committee chair, said the group will now turn to an overhaul of its tactics and promised a new slate of candidates with more vigor and youth in two years.
“It’s just a matter of getting these peoples’ names out,” he said, adding that bolstering the aging ranks of the committee and focusing on social media may also help.