Niagara Gazette


September 13, 2011

Cliffe wins round two in Wheatfield

Incumbent turns away primary challenge from former supervisor

WHEATFIELD — The margin of victory was large but not large enough for Republican incumbent Wheatfield Town Supervisor Robert Cliffe.

“We’re not as happy as we’d like, but we’re happy with the outcome,” Cliffe said Tuesday night after turning away the primary challenge of former GOP Town Supervisor Tim Demler.

With 100 percent of the vote counted, Cliffe had 717 votes to Demler’s 540 votes in the Republican primary for town supervisor. The 57 percent to 42.9 percent margin of victory left Cliffe unsatisfied.

“I had hoped to win by a more significant margin,” he said. “But I’m glad the informed voters of Wheatfield could see through the hogwash. Now we’re on to the race in the fall.”

Cliffe will face Democratic challenger Don Wallace in general election balloting in November.

Results of voting in the Working Families Party primary for town supervisor were not available Tuesday night. Voting in that primary was by write-in and those ballots are not likely to be tabulated until later in the week.

Two years ago, Cliffe engaged in a bruising primary battle with Demler, then a 14-year incumbent in the supervisor’s office. He said he hoped his latest victory would bring peace to his party.

“I’d like to see the Republican party come together now for the fall election,” Cliffe said. (The primary results) shows there are a lot of people in our party who still have concerns. We’ve tried to inform them of what we’ve done and (how) we’ll be going forward.”

Demler did not return telephone calls seeking his comments on the election results.

In the Republican primary for two expiring Town Board seats, incumbents carried the day.

Veteran GOP town board members Larry Helwig and Gil Doucet outpolled challenger Craig Schultz. Helwig was the top votegetter with 761 or 36.1 percent of the votes.

Doucet followed with 726 or 34.4 percent of the voters. Schultz tallied 619 or 29.3 percent of the votes.

Results of the Working Families Party primary for town board seats are expected later in the week after write-in votes are counted.

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