Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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May 24, 2008

ELECTION 2008: Lockport GOP favors Corwin over Cole in 142nd

Lockport didn’t like Mike, and despite the Republican Party’s award of its official endorsement to him, local party committeemen likely will do the bidding of Jane Corwin in the 142nd District state Assembly race.

So predicted Henry Wojtaszek, Niagara County GOP Committee chairman, on Friday.

Scandal-tainted incumbent Assemblyman Michael Cole, R-Alden, stunned political veterans with his taking of the GOP nod, in close, weighted party convention voting this week.

The spoils of a nominating win, including the right to count on its foot soldiers as signature-gatherers in the coming designating petition process, should belong to Cole automatically — but Wojtaszek said that’s not likely to happen.

His own canvass of town and city GOP committeemen after the Wednesday convention suggests none of them voted for Cole, and since Corwin has signaled her intention to keep running for the GOP ballot line, Wojtaszek said committeemen will not be bound by the convention results.

“Niagara County voted overwhelmingly for Jane Corwin,” he said, “and in this instance, I think there will be people carrying for both (candidates).”

Republican Mayor Michael Tucker, who seconded Corwin’s nomination in the convention, said he will continue campaigning for her. Cole’s victory was a fluke, he added.

In the convention, each committee member was given a blank ballot marked with points determined by the number of Republican voters in their election district.

Tucker and Deborah Gaskill, chairman of the Town of Lockport GOP Committee, both said Cole ended up with 300 points more than Corwin, representing only two or three votes in the packed convention.

“It was an upset,” Gaskill said. The town committee has not met to decide how to handle Assembly nominating petitions yet, Gaskill said. Members could decide to follow tradition and carry for Cole, despite their own preferences; protest the convention results by carrying for Corwin; or decline to carry for either candidate.

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