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Even Fuller Houses: Board of Ed and the Supremes

The only races attracting more candidates than the 60th District State Senate are the race for three at-large seats on Buffalo’s Board of Education, with 12 candidates so far (including one celebrated local beatboxer), and the race for five seats on the New York State Supreme Court, where there may be three times that many. (At last count Democratic party gadfly Dan Ward had assembled 37 names, but who’s counting? Many of those candidacies are just rumors; others will fizzle.)

The aspirant Supremes are generally winnowed by collaboration of the chairs of the county Democratic and Republican parties, who agree to cross-endorse favored candidates, in effect guaranteeing their election. This year that’s not happening: We’re told that GOP chairman Nick Langworthy turned down Democratic chairman Jeremy Zellner’s offer to cross-endorse. (We’ve heard Zellner offered to endorse two Republicans in exchange for Langworthy endorsing three Democrats; Langworthy’s number was four Republicans for one Democrat, a number so absurd in a county with a Democratic enrollment advantage that it seems calculated to curtail any bargaining.) Langworthy is gambling that Democrats are so balkanized and Zellner’s control of the party so weak that a crowded field of Democrats will split the party’s voters and allow the more disciplined and united Republicans to sneak some candidates across the finish line.

If that happens, it’s bad news for Zellner, just as it was bad news for former party chairman Steve Pigeon more than a dozen years ago when he lost control of some judicial races.

For the record, these are the names of Supreme contenders, as assembled by Ward, with his noted (and a few of our own in parentheses):

James F. Bargnesi, Erie County Assistant District Attorney. (Maybe, but would he run against his boss, DA Frank A. Sedita III, also on this list?)

• Hon. Betty Calvo-Torres, Democrat, former Erie County Assistant District Attorney, Buffalo City Court Judge.

• Hon. Kevin M. Carter, Democrat, Erie County Family Court Judge.

Emilio Colaiacovo, Republican, Amherst attorney, GOP insider.

Michael Cooper, Eden Town Justice.

Timothy Cooper, Evans Town Justice.

James Cosgrove, Democrat, son of former Erie County District Attorney Ed Cosgrove.

John DelMonte, Democrat, brother of former Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, Niagara Falls attorney.

Hon. Susan M. Eagan, Democrat, Buffalo City Court Judge.

Michael J. Flaherty, Jr., Democrat, son of Michael Flaherty, attorney, and nephew of Hon. Thomas Flaherty, Supreme Court Justice; Erie County First Deputy Assistant District Attorney.

John J. Flynn, Jr., Democrat, former Town of Tonawanda Town Justice; currently Town of Tonawanda Town Attorney, and has private practice in Williamsville, New York.

Daniel J. Furlong, Democrat, law clerk to Hon. Joseph R. Glownia.

Robert Ross Fogg, Democrat, Buffalo attorney; veteran of US Navy.

Sharon Stern Gerstman, former clerk to Hon. Joseph Mintz.

• Hon. Debra L. Givens, Democrat, Buffalo City Court Judge.

Dennis Glascott, Democrat, Angola Village Justice, Buffalo attorney; resides in Angola.

Jonathan Gorman, Democrat, son of Hamburg Town Justice Gerald Gorman and law clerk to Appellate Division Justice Gerald Whalen; Hamburg attorney.

• Hon. Lynn W. Keane, Democrat, Orchard Park Town Justice.

Alisa Lukasiewicz, Democrat, former Buffalo Corporation Counsel, Buffalo attorney.

Sam Maislin, Democrat, former Assistant District Attorney in both Ohio and Erie County,; former Amherst Town Judge; Amherst attorney.

Jeffrey Marion, Democrat, Amherst attorney, ran before once unsuccessfully.

• Hon. Amy C. Martoche, Democrat, Buffalo City Court Judge. (And, we might add, daughter of Hon. Salvatore Martoche, retired NYS Supreme Court Justice.)

• Hon. Frederic Marrano, Lackawanna City Court Judge.

• Hon. Frederick Marshall, Republican, incumbent NYS Supreme Court Justice.

Joseph Matteliano, Democrat, Buffalo attorney.

• Hon. James McLeod, Democrat, Buffalo City Court Judge.

• Hon. Jeanette Ogden, Democrat, Buffalo City Court Judge, who has run before unsuccessfully.

• Hon. Mark Poloncarz, Democrat, Erie County Executive, Buffalo attorney. (Not this year, Dan: He’s keeping his job. But maybe in the future…)

• Hon. Frank A. Sedita III, Democrat, Erie County District Attorney. (Count on this: Remember, he shook down his staff for campaign donations early last year, right after winning re-election as DA. That money is for this race.)

Michael Siragusa, Democrat, Erie County Attorney.

• Hon. Donna Siwek, Republican, incumbent Supreme Court Justice.

Mary L. Slisz, Republican, Buffalo attorney.

Kathleen M. Sweet, former president of Erie County Bar Association, Buffalo attorney.

• Hon. Jeffrey Voelkl, Williamsville Village Justice, Williamsville attorney; has run for Supreme Court previously.

Dennis Ward, Democrat, Democratic Erie County Commissioner of Elections; former court clerk to Hon. Mary Ann Killeen, Erie County Family Court; Kenmore attorney.

Thomas E. Webb, Jr., Democrat, Williamsville attorney.

• Hon. Paul Wojtaszek, Republican, Niagara County legislator, brother of Niagara County Republican Chairman Henry Wojtaszek, and law clerk to Hon. Russell Buscaglia, NYS Supreme Court Justice, Niagara County attorney; has run before unsuccessfully.

Many of the Democrats interested in the race began raising money a month ago, without Zellner’s blessing.

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