Election Day 2019: the two big WNY races

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Polling sites across New York State will open at 6 a.m. Tuesday for Election Day 2019. More than 26,000 voters in Erie County took advantage of the state’s first early voting period in history. That represents about 4.5 percent of the electorate.

The biggest decision they had to make was between Mark Poloncarz and Lynne Dixon. Poloncarz, a Democrat running for his third term as Erie County Executive, is facing a challenge from Dixon, a member of the Independence Party running on the Republican line who has served five terms in the county legislature.

Both took time to reflect on their campaigns Monday. Poloncarz said he’s relying on his record, and referred to some of Dixon’s negative campaigning as “uncalled for”.

“It’s just been a really long campaign,” Poloncarz said, noting that candidates were forced to begin circulating petitions in February, earlier than ever before. “I can see the light. They say campaigns are marathons. This was a marathon.

“We’ve passed the 26 mile mark. We’ve got a couple tenths of a mile left. The biggest thing is for people to get out and vote.”

Dixon has run a campaign critical of an Erie County government that she calls “too political” under Poloncarz. She’s also criticized his management of the county’s roads and taxes under his watch.

“I knew coming into this that it’s an uphill battle when you’re the challenger,” Dixon said. “I accepted that challenge. I’ve never really been afraid of one. It’s been very rewarding.”

Meanwhile, in Niagara Falls, voters will select a new mayor for the first time in 12 years. Incumbent Paul Dyster is not seeking re-election.

The ballot has four names on it. Robert Restaino, the Niagara Falls school board president, is running on the Democratic line. Glenn Choolokian, who switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican prior to the election, is running on the GOP line. Seth Piccirillo, who was defeated in a Democratic primary by Restaino, is on the Working Families line, although he is not campaigning for the seat. Finally, Jeffrey Elder is on the Dynamic New Future line.

Both of the major party candidates in the race say they’re looking to create change in the Cataract City.

“I have campaigned on the idea that I am change,” Restaino said. “I want to bring to the City of Niagara Falls a spirit of cooperate with not only the county government but also our first ring suburbs, the Town of Lewiston and the Town of Niagara.”

“My whole campaign has been about ‘Niagara Falls needs to change,'” Choolokian said in June. “So I’m not really concerned about who I’m running against.”

Polling sites will be open until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

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