Cheektowaga Town Board primary challenge hinges on 203 absentee ballots

(From L to R) Tim Meyers, Brian Nowak and Jim Rogowski at the Cheektowaga Democratic Committee's watch party at Bobby J's Italian American Grille on September 12th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
(From L to R) Tim Meyers, Brian Nowak and Jim Rogowski at the Cheektowaga Democratic Committee's watch party at Bobby J's Italian American Grille on September 12th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The primary challenge mounted by Councilmember Alice Magierski has resulted in a razor thin margin. Just 44 votes separate her from the current third place candidate Councilmember Jim Rogowski and 203 uncounted absentee ballots could ultimately hurt or help either candidate.

A total of 8,203 were cast – 60 of them were write-ins. At 10:35 pm Tuesday night, first-time candidate Brian Nowak took home 2,255 votes, Councilmember Tim Meyers had 2,080 votes, and Councilmember Jim Rogowski had 1,926 votes.  Councilmember Alice Magierski did not receive the committee’s endorsement, and her primary challenge for one of the three spots on the Democratic line in November earned her 1,882 votes.

203 absentee ballots still need to be counted, but Cheektowaga Democratic Committee Chairman Matt Janiszewski feels very confident that they’re in a good position for his three endorsed candidates.

“I knew that this was going to be a close race. You never know how elections will work out, but I feel with the low turnout and all the hard work we put in, especially for a newcomer like Brian Nowak; unknown to a lot of Democrats across the town, he was unknown to our committee until last year, so to be able to get him the endorsement and get him the top vote getter speaks volumes,” said Mr. Janiszewski.

Submitted campaign photo of Alice Magierski.
Submitted campaign photo of Alice Magierski.

Ms. Magierski ran a clean primary challenge and felt voters were swayed by the last minute anonymous political mailer that accused her of double dipping.  Despite the mailer, she feels there is still a possibility that the absentee votes can carry her over the finish line.

“It’s not a closed door at this point.  I hold my head high, and I did what I had to do.  I’ve been a public servant, and I’m proud of what I’ve done and what I presented.  Now we wait out the absentees and see where it takes us,” said Ms. Magierski.

If all fails, her name will still be on the ballot in November on the Conservative line, and she thinks voters will jump party lines for her.

Mr. Rogowski told Cheektowaga Chronicle that he was going to sleep well despite the narrow 44 vote lead and outstanding absentee ballots.

“I took a message to the taxpayers of our town to make Cheektowaga a greater place to work, live, and raise a family. I’ve run on those principles.  People who know me in this town know how hard I work for the people of this town, how much I care about the people of this town and they came out today.  Not in droves as we will have in the general election but they came out, and they said we want Jim Rogowski to continue to do good for our town,” said Mr. Rogowski.

Political newcomer Brian Nowak credited effective organization to his win last night.  From the moment when initial election results were returned, he led the pack of the primary candidates and stayed there all night long.

“We knew where our votes were. Spending four and a half months going door to door every day talking with people, listening to their concerns and issues, that helped as far a messaging went and we identified over 1,500 people who were either for us or leaning our way and we spent the last several days making sure we contacted them,” said Mr. Nowak.

Tim Meyers speaks at the Cheektowaga Democratic Committee's watch party at Bobby J's Italian American Grille on September 12th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)
Tim Meyers speaks at the Cheektowaga Democratic Committee’s watch party at Bobby J’s Italian American Grille on September 12th. (Jim Herr/Cheektowaga Chronicle)

Councilmember Tim Meyers commanded a second place victory.

“The so-called experts said that anybody that knew my father is now dead.  They also said that I had the wrong name in this race. They also said that the residents of Cheektowaga don’t know me.  Tonight, the residents of Cheektowaga said, ‘I know Tim Meyers,'” said Mr. Meyers.