Niagara Gazette — A bid by local Democrats to end the GOP’s decade-old dominance in the Niagara County Legislature came up short on Tuesday.
In a year when the Niagara County Democratic Committee fielded challengers in the bulk of the districts held by Republicans and their affiliates, the party managed to pick up just one seat — the Third District in the LaSalle section of the city.
Unofficial results from the Niagara County Board of Elections show Republicans and their affiliates in either the Conservative or Independence parties, held 11 of the 12 districts they controlled heading into the general election. As a result, the Republican-led caucus will continue to enjoy a majority by a 11-4 margin starting in 2014.
In the Third District, endorsed Democrat Mark Grozio, an assistant business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 237, defeated incumbent Republican Cheree Copelin, a teacher in the Falls school district. Unofficial results showed Grozio beating Copelin, 1,487 to 1,224.
”I think all the walking and debating door-to-door with the residents of LaSalle was huge,” Grozio said after results were announced late Tuesday. “I think the people were hungry for change to be honest. I’m happy and proud to serve the residents of LaSalle. The people of LaSalle voted and they wanted change.”
In other parts of the city, legislative districts will remain unchanged.
Incumbent Democrats Dennis Virtuoso (6th District), Jason Zona (Fifth District) and Owen Steed (Fourth District) all survived challenges from Republican opponents.
Zona downed Republican challenger Giulio Colangelo, 1,669 to 1,109, to maintain his hold on the Fifth District seat representing part of Niagara Falls and the Town of Niagara.
Zona credited his opponent with running a touch race and said he’d like to see Democrats and Republicans alike will be able to come together and make county government more responsive to the needs of taxpayers.