Tonawanda News

September 12, 2012

Working Families primary on tap

By Mark Scheer
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — The Republican Party line isn’t the only ballot position up for grabs in Thursday’s primary in the state senate’s 62nd District.

Lewiston resident Amy Hope Witryol will face North Tonawanda resident Timothy Moriarity for the right to appear on the ballot on the Working Families Party line during the general election. 

Witryol is a registered Democrat who has the endorsement of the Working Families Party and the United Auto Workers. The retired bank executive contends that she is the only candidate in the primary race that is truly interested in becoming the district’s state senator. She characterized Moriarity as a non-candiate who got involved at the recommendation of Niagara County Republicans, including incumbent state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane. Witryol has suggested Moriarity is part of a larger effort by Maziarz to control Working Families and other minor party lines in the race. Maziarz has denied having any involvement in the campaigns of Moriarity or any other candidates. 

Witryol filed a lawsuit in court earlier this year, contesting Moriarity’s designating petitions which she noted were presented to voters within the district by several prominent members of the local GOP, including Maziarz aide Glenn Aronow, county Republican Party executive committee member Patti Weiss and deputy GOP election commissioner Michael Carney. Witryol’s case was ultimately dismissed as untimely by the courts. 

She insisted again Tuesday that her opponent in the Working Families race is not truly interested in the job, but rather a pawn of the county’s Republican establishment. 

“Moriarity’s not a candidate,” said Witryol. “He’s not running. His petitions were passed by Maziarz. He doesn’t want to be a state senator.”

Moriarity, a registered Working Families Party member who works at General Motors, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Tuesday. 

Witryol made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Maziarz in 2010 and said she is trying again because she believes the district - which, as a result of statewide redistricting, will include the city of Niagara Falls in 2013 - needs leadership that “looks past the 24-month election cycle.”  She said she’s most concerned about middle class families in the area, people whom she says have been negatively impacted by a “culture of corruption” that she believes has permeated politics and government in the Niagara Region for years. She said the evidence of the impact can be found in the region’s high taxes, unemployment and general lack of growth. 

“I’m running for state senate because I want you and your children to have a better life,” she said. “I don’t aspire to a career in Albany. I truly believe corruption is the single biggest drain on our economy.”

As the endorsed Democrat, Witryol will remain on the ballot in the November general election regardless of the outcome of Thursday’s primary. Moriarity needs to win in order to stay in the race beyond this week.