Democratic candidates spent $40k on Cheektowaga council primary

CHEEKTOWAGA – The four town council candidates competing for three spots on the democratic line in November’s election spent a combined $40,951.39 on September’s primary election according to campaign disclosure reports.

Newcomer Brian Nowak who was the leading vote-getter on September 12th was also the leader when it came to fundraising and expenditures.  Councilmember Alice Magierski who trails Councilmember James Rogowski by only 44 votes outraised and outspent Mr. Rogowski by $4,151.00 and $2,045.06 respectively.  Mr. Rogowski and Ms. Magierski await the results of the 203 absentee ballots to see who will land the third democratic spot in November.  Cheektowaga Chronicle has learned that the final election results should be certified by the Erie County Board of Elections early next week.

Brain Nowak | $17,200.29 raised | $16,002.98 spent

Submitted campaign photo of Brain Nowak.
Submitted campaign photo of Brain Nowak.

Brain Nowak established his campaign war chest on February 28th with a $1,000.00 personal check.  Individual donations started to pour in soon after from online PayPal donations and three fundraisers.

Campaign disclosure reports show that a majority of his donors live in the City of Buffalo and other communities outside of Cheektowaga.  Among the Cheektowaga supporters were Supervisor Diane Benczkowski ($190.00), Town Clerk Vickie Dankowski ($30.00), Councilmember Linda Hammer ($50.00), Councilmember James Rogowski ($50.00), and Budget Director Stan Kaznowski ($100.00).

Mr. Nowak raised $17,200.29 double the amount raised by any of his primary challengers.  Unlike his challengers, however, Mr. Nowak spent almost a quarter of his funds or $4,291.64 on wages for campaign workers.  His top two wage earners were Matt Dearing a co-chair with Local Liberty Union Progressives (formally Buffalo for Bernie Sanders) and Theresa Shaffer a regional field director for Bernie 2016.

Matt Dearing, of Buffalo, was listed as campaign manager in a July disclosure report and earned $1,000.00.  Theresa Shaffer, of Buffalo, was listed as campaign manager during the final stretch of the campaign and earned $1,791.64.  General campaign workers; Daniel Jones, of Cheektowaga earned $907.50; Adama Brown, of Warsaw, earned $510.00; and Charles Hess, of Cheektowaga, earned $82.50.

Mr. Nowak closed out the primary election with $1,197.31 remaining.

James Rogowski | $4,529.00 raised | $6,964.66 spent

Submitted campaign photo of Jim Rogowski.
Submitted campaign photo of Jim Rogowski.

James Rogowski started off 2017 with $12,098.55 in his campaign account.

He raised $4,529.00 with most of his new funds coming in a month before the primary.  Individual contributions total $1,250.00 with Supervisor Diane Benczkowski ($100.00) and Budget Director Stan Kaznowski ($100.00) listed among the 13 individual contributors.  An August fundraiser brought in another $1,049.00, and corporate contributions totaled $1,680.00.  The law firm Hodgson & Russ LLP, which represents Mr. Rogowski and other board members in a defamation lawsuit brought by Highway Superintendent Mark Wegner contributed $200.00.

Mr. Rogowski spent 6,964.66 and closed out the primary election with $11,419.35 remaining.

Alice Magierski | $8,680.00 raised | $9,009.72 spent

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

Alice Magierski had $366.21 in her account going into July.  She and her husband added $1,000.00 to the account on July 17th.

She hired two Buffalo residents as campaign workers totaling $1,140.00.  Angel Wright earned $570, and Rhiana Bassham earned $570.00.

Her campaign raised $8,680.00 this primary season with the help of two big donors.  Buffalo attorney Peter Reese contributed $1,000.00 and his wife Ellen Reese contributed $1,500.00.  Unlike her primary challengers, she did not receive a contribution from Supervisor Benczkowski.

According to Mr. Reese, during the campaign, he fought to keep Ms. Magierski’s name on the ballot after a campaign worker from Mr. Nowak’s campaign challenged the validity of Ms. Magierski’s petitions.  There were no listed expenditures to Mr. Reese.

Ms. Magierski withdrew $1,175.48 on August 28th for a personal reimbursement.  She closed out the primary election with $36.48 remaining.

Timothy Meyers | $7,700.54 raised | $8,974.03 spent

Submitted campaign photo of Tim Meyers.
Submitted campaign photo of Tim Meyers.

Timothy Meyers kicked off 2017 with $2,791.02 in his campaign account and raised another $7,700.54 through the primary campaign.

Individual contributions totaled $6,135.00.  Of that money, his colleagues in local government contributed $675.00; Supervisor Diane Benczkowski ($300.00); Friends of Mark Wegner ($250.00); Councilmember Linda Hammer ($50.00); Budget Director Stan Kaznowski ($50); and Town Clerk Vickie Dankowski ($25).

The law firm Hodgson & Russ LLP contributed a total of $300.00.  Mr. Meyers received another $250.00 in corporate contributions.

Mr. Meyers withdrew $833.00 on August 11th for a loan repayment. He spent $8,974.03 and closed out the primary election with $1,696.99 remaining.