By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette — Newfane Republican George Maziarz is heading back to Albany.
Unofficial results from boards of elections in the three counties covering the New York state Senate's 62nd District showed Maziarz defeating Democratic challenger Amy Hope Witryol to retain the Senate seat he's held since 1995.
The final outcome was clouded by reporting issues experienced by the Niagara County Board of Elections. Throughout the evening, candidates in Niagara County races had difficulty obtaining vote totals. Updates for the public were slow in coming on the election board's website as well.
Reached by telephone after the polls closed, a representative from the Niagara County Board of Elections said that neither board of elections commissioner was available for comment because they were busy trying to fix issues related to the reporting delays.
Maziarz claimed victory Tuesday evening, although Witryol did not concede defeat.
As a result of a statewide redistricting process, Maziarz will serve in a new-look 62nd District that will include the city of Niagara Falls.
Maziarz said that he was gratified to win his district by a margin consistent with prior victories even after gaining Niagara Falls — a democratic stronghold — in redistricting.
"Niagara Falls is a city with a lot of challenges, but I look forward to working with Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo to solve those problems," he said late Tuesday night.
As of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Niagara County Board of Elections website showed Maziarz leading 37,329 to 21,357 with 121 of 180 districts reporting countywide.
Maziarz also finished with the lead in Orleans County where results from all 40 election districts showed Maziarz beating Witryol, 9,011 to 4,058.
Witryol faired better in Monroe County, but still came up short. Unofficial results showed her receiving nearly 41 percent of the vote with all districts reporting, with Maziarz securing the overall advantage, 7,288 to 5,153.
This year's 62nd District race was a rematch of the 2010 election in which Maziarz also defeated Witryol.
Witryol, who gathered with supporters at the American Legion Fredrick F. Cadille Post No. 1664 at the City Market in Niagara Falls, declined comment on the outcome of the race late Tuesday, saying she wanted to wait until she she saw the full results from Niagara County. She said she was encouraged by the gains she had made in Orleans and Monroe counties from her previous race against Maziarz.
"It seems like we are doing a lot better in those counties than we did two years ago," she said.
Green Party candidate Jonathon B. Benedict ran a distant third in this year's senate race, receiving 629 votes, or slightly less than 1 percent in Niagara County. Benedict, the son of Republican Lockport City Alderwoman Kathryn Fogle, did not actively campaign during the primary or general election.