Legislative races see Himelein defeat Croscut

MAYVILLE – Fred Croscut’s 16-year reign in the Chautauqua County Legislature will come to an end this year.

David Himelein won the District 18 Republican primary for county legislature Tuesday with an unofficial vote total of 229-198.

Croscut, R-Sherman, and Himelein, R-Findley Lake – both current legislators – were forced into a primary when the current county legislature voted to downsize from 25 members to 19 members.

“I’ve enjoyed my 16 years, and it doesn’t appear like I’ll be running for re-election,” Croscut said Tuesday night. “I wish Dave the best. We had a good race. After 16 years, you win some friends and you get some enemies. I’m very content and happy with what I’ve accomplished. Evidently, there are enough people in the community that didn’t realize what I’ve accomplished. But, I’ve had a good run, so I’m going to enjoy my life and move on.”

Himelein said he was “ecstatic” to have won the race in his district.

“I am very happy that voters elected me as the new legislator for District 18,” Himelein said. “I think they felt that they wanted their legislator and legislators to go in a different direction than what they have in the past, and this was a result of that, that they wanted somebody newer, fresher, younger in the position, and the results are just in, and it looks like they wanted me to do it.”

Himelein said he looks forward to continue working with Croscut through the end of this year.

“There’s no animosity between Fred and I,” he said. “We will continue to work through the rest of the year on items of common interest, and work to benefit our constituents, as well as the ones in the rest of the county.”

In other legislative districts, Susan Baldwin is leading the Democratic line for District 5, with a total of 76 votes. Her opponent, Amy Farnham, has 72 votes. According to Norm Green, Democratic election commissioner for Chautauqua County, 10 of 25 absentee ballots have been returned so far.

“I am just absolutely delighted,” Baldwin said. “You can’t imagine how nervous I’ve been. I am just thrilled.”

In District 7, current Legislator Thomas DeJoe, D-Brocton, will be listed on the Working Families Line, with a total of seven votes. There were also three write-in votes.

Ronald Lemon is in position to be listed on the Republican line for Legislative District 16, thanks to a total of 108 votes. His opponent, Tamera Downey, has 106 votes. Fourteen of 44 absentee ballots have been return in the District 16 race.

“It’s nice that I’m ahead, but it’s not over,” Lemon said. “We’ve still got, according to the Board of Elections, there are 44 absentee ballots out, of which 14 of them have been returned. … So, we’ll just have to wait seven days or so to see how they go, and then celebrate or go from there.”

Lemon has previously served on the legislature, and has worked with Croscut in the past.

“It was an honor to serve with him when he was in,” Lemon said. “He was always helpful to me while I was in (the legislature). I think he has been a positive for the Chautauqua County Legislature as long as he’s been in there. It’s a sad part of politics, but sometimes the people just think it’s time to move on, and I think that’s the case here.”

Green said the entire primary election process went smoothly Tuesday. Additionally, he said it was interesting how there were large voter turnouts in some areas, and lower turnouts in others.

“There were no problems,” Green said. “It appears at this point in time to be a perfect election.”

Green said all results on the Chautauqua County Board of Elections website are the final machine results. There are still absentee ballots out in several districts.

“There are three races that will go to absentee,” Green said. “Those three races are really the only absentee races. A week from (Tuesday), we’ll start counting.”

Green said the candidates will be invited to see the ballots being counted.