Tonawanda News — Voters in the City of Tonawanda and Grand Island returned veteran Legislator Kevin Hardwick, R-Tonawanda, to the Erie County Legislature — and when he’s sworn in again in January his Republican Party will be in the majority.
Voters county-wide flipped control of the chamber to the GOP for the first time in a generation.
An exuberant Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy claimed victory on three fronts.
“We set three goals: Re-elect County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, we’d re-elect our great sheriff, Tim Howard, and we’d elect the first Republican majority since 1977. We did it!” Langworthy proclaimed at a victory celebration in Buffalo Tuesday night.
As of the News’ deadline, Howard had 75,711 votes or 52 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Richard Dobson with 45,715 votes or 31 percent of the vote and Bert Dunn with 24,314 votes or 17 percent of the vote, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
Republican Mychajliw was re-elected as comptroller with 82,124 votes or 57 percent of the vote over Democratic challenger Kevin Gaughan with 60,911 votes or 43 percent of the vote, with 87 percent of precincts reporting.
Hardwick, a political science professor at Canisius College, received 7,728 votes or 63 percent of the vote beating Democratic challenger Bill Conrad III, a Kenmore West High School teacher, with 4,494 votes or 37 percent of the vote with 66 percent of the precincts reporting. The win came after a hard-fought race, which included a lawsuit over Conrad’s ballot eligibility.
Conrad was an Independent who filed to run as a Democrat. The filing became the point of controversy when Hardwick and Republican Edward Rath filed a lawsuit over the date of the filing, claiming that the paperwork was turned in after the required deadline.
The issue stemmed from an apparent error at the U.S. Post Office back on July 15, the deadline for filing a permission by the party to allow Conrad to run as a Democrat. The paperwork can be filed in person at the Erie County Board of Elections or postmarked by July 15, election law stipulates.