Tonawanda News — The North Tonawanda Democratic Committee has released its slate of endorsed candidates for mayor and the common council, with several familiar faces seeking to challenge years of Republican dominance, many of whom had lost in previous elections.
Janet Zehr will challenge Mayor Rob Ortt for the city’s top leadership position, according to committee chairman Mark Houghton, who on Monday announced the party lineup.
Zehr was defeated in 2011 by Republican incumbent Paul Wojtaszek in a bid for the Niagara County Legislature’s 9th District. At the time, Zehr had raised questions about the effectiveness of the county’s Industrial Development Agency, and its ability to bring jobs to the region. Zehr also lost in a 2009 council race.
Beverly Loxterman, a past chairwoman of the city’s waterfront committee and an elections inspector also actively involved with the YWCA, will challenge another newcomer, Bob Clark, for an at-large slot. Alderwoman-At-Large Nancy Donovan will not seek re-election, instead retiring from politics.
David Kelly, who Houghton said is a teacher in the Buffalo school system, will run against First Ward Alderman Russ Rizzo, an Independent who caucuses with Republicans and who etched out a narrow victory over Lou Sprenger in 2011 after stepping down from the county Legislature.
Kimberley Robertson will vie for a Second Ward seat against Donna Braun, a North Tonawanda school board member. Robertson, who also served briefly on the school board, lost in 2011 to Mal Needler for an at-large position on the council. The Second Ward seat will be vacated by council President Rich Andres, who dropped his bid for reelection to run for the county Legislature’s 8th District.
Darlene Bolsover, who Houghton said is the the only independent on the Democratic ticket and who unsuccessfully ran for the North Tonawanda school board last year, will attempt to unseat Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka.
Announcing his candidacy in May, Joshua Dubs is challenging Shawn Nickerson to become city attorney. Dubs lost to Zadzilka in 2011.
Houghton said despite sweeping losses during the last two election cycles, he believes the newest round of candidates will make headway in November when voters go to the polls.
“I really have a firm belief that we’re going to take the council because of the strength of the candidates,” he said. “The focus of the Democratic Party will be the character and actions of the Republican Party.”Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.