Democrats keep control of Rogowski’s council seat with a solid win

CHEEKTOWAGA – Democrats keep control of James Rogowski’s council seat following his ousting by a State Supreme Court Justice this past September.

Brian Pilarski beat out Republican Doreen Friedrich in the race to fill the council seat left vacant after State Supreme Court Justice Mark Montour ruled that Mr. Rogowski vacated his office when he pleaded guilty to a charge of Attempted Criminal Contempt on September 5th. The charge stemmed from a domestic incident last February involving his wife.

Mr. Rogowski has called the legal action political, and his attorneys are appealing Judge Montour’s decision.

Mr. Pilarski is currently the President of the Maryvale School Board and Co-Chair of the Town of Cheektowaga Youth and Recreation Advisory Council.  His day job is Executive Director of the Seneca-Babcock Community Association.

He told voters that he would strive to lower taxes by finding alternative revenue sources, increase access to town information, focus on the needs of all residents, and would plan smart growth for the future.

It’s too early to tell if the local win was the result of the “blue wave” of frustration with federal politics, down-ticket effects from higher profile national and state races, or simply because registered Democrats outnumber their Republicans counterparts in Cheektowaga.

Unofficial results show this year’s town council race received double the votes compared to last year.  Mr. Pilarski received 16,130 votes this election compared to Mr. Rogowski’s 8,115 votes last November.  Ms. Friedrich got 10,658 this time around; last year she received 4,465.

Results from the last minute write-in campaign mounted by Mr. Rogowski were not immediately available on the Board of Election’s website.

Voter turnout at Erie County polling places was high according to a social media push by County Executive Mark Poloncarz.  He tweeted around 7:30 pm Tuesday saying countywide voter turnout was around 65%.

Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo, Letitia James, and Brian Higgins declared victory in their races for U.S. Senate, Governor, State Attorney General, and Congress – four key positions the party could use to rebuff the policies of Republican President Donald Trump.

Democrats took control of the State Senate for the first time in a century while at the national level, they took control of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Republicans picked up key U.S. Senate seats to expand their majority.

Incumbent Assemblymember Monica Wallace defeated her GOP challenger Daniel Centinello by 6,933 votes.  Senator Tim Kennedy ran unopposed to secure another two-year term.

Former Assistant Chief of Police James Speyer was elected Town Justice.  He too was unchallenged.

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