Niagara Gazette — Niagara County Democratic Party leaders set out to tip the scales of political power in Niagara County this year.
While the party made some inroads on the western end of the county, it did not fare well in traditional GOP strongholds outside the city of Niagara Falls.
Chairman Nick Forster, who returned to lead the local Democrats earlier this summer, said the results didn’t exactly cause him to “jump for joy,” but did give him a sense that the party is beginning to move in a better direction.
“Obviously, there’s some jubilation in the city of Niagara Falls and certainly we are very happy to have Judge (Mark) Montour on the bench,” Forster said. “We are looking to capture some more seats in the legislature to change the balance of power in Niagara.”
Republicans and their affiliates, including members of the local Conservative and Independence parties, have held sway over the legislature’s majority for a decade now. County GOP Chairman Scott Kiedrowski called the five election-cycle winning streak “unprecedented.”
“That has never been done before and, to me, that’s a testament to what we are doing,” he said.
Forster and his supporters fielded several candidates in the majority of county races in an effort to topple Republican-friendly incumbents who held a 12-3 advantage in the legislature heading into November. The Democrats managed to add just one seat, as local union representative Mark Grozio downed Republican incumbent Cheree Copelin in the Third District.
Kiedrowski chalked his party’s continued success up to the quality of its candidates and their commitment to issues of concern to residents, including cutting costs and consolidating services at the county level. While the party also enjoyed success in most of the races in the county’s 12 towns, he acknowledged that the results were not as favorable for Republicans in Niagara Falls, a community where Democrats outnumber conservative voters by a healthy margin.