Cambria Supervisor Wright Ellis is poised to win reelection to a seat he has held since 1992, after holding off a Republican party primary challenge from winery owner Shane Gustafson.
Ellis beat Gustafson, 262 to 197, while Cambria Councilman Matthew P. Foe and challenger Benjamin Mussall won the Republican nomination over Councilman Joseph Ohol and challenger David Edbauer, according to unofficial results from the Niagara County Board of Elections. Two council seats are up for grabs in the November general election.
As a whole, primary voters in Cambria appeared to back a series of controversial zoning code amendments that the town board adopted in March, without the support of Ohol.
The code changes, written by Foe, require some agri-businesses, such as wineries and distilleries, to get a permit for special events. The new code also stipulates that to be sited in an agricultural district, new wineries, breweries or distilleries must grow at least 51 percent of their product — such as grapes, hops or barley — on their property. Another section expands setback requirements for business structures.
“We’ve run into some issues surrounding some of the agri-tourism business, which had less than favorable interactions with the neighbors,” Foe said recently.
In the wake of the code changes, Gustafson and Edbauer announced their bids for the GOP line in the supervisor’s and council contests. Mussall, meanwhile, said he supports the new rules.
“You can address those problems with the parking and noise ordinances,” Gustafson said in March, referring to then-recent quality-of-life complaints made by some town residents.
Mussall and Foe received 342 and 287 Republican votes, while Edbauer and Ohol pulled in 160 and 101, respectively. Ohol had a particularly poor night, falling short of the total number of write-in ballots for the Democratic, Working Families, Independence and Conservative lines (though he could retain the lines if voters split their write-in candidates). Foe and Ellis easily captured each of the minor party lines they ran for; in addition, Ellis held off a write-in challenge for the Democratic ballot line in the supervisor’s race.
In the county races, 10th District Legislator David Godfrey held onto the Republican party line over Trevor Ganshaw, the endorsed Democratic candidate for the district that covers Wilson and Cambria.
David Mongielo, an auto shop owner and political activist, again challenged 12th District Legislator William Collins, Sr. for the Conservative line, and came out on top 24 to 15. Collins retains the Republican line for the Lockport district.
Republican incumbents also held off primary challengers in races for town hall posts in Hartland and Royalton.
Hartland Town Clerk Cynthia Boyler easily held off challenger Shari Arnold 298 to 72, while Royalton Highway Supervisor James Spark captured 100 votes to challenger Gregory Lindke’s 64.