City voters had few choices in election

While many candidates spent anxious moments Tuesday, there was one group of office seekers who didn’t have to wait for election night results.

Dunkirk’s Common Council, along with Treasurer Mark Woods and Assessor Tom Mleczko, had no opposition this election. While Woods and Mleczko have been unopposed before, council members, at least some of them, have always had opposition.

On the county side, city legislators Keith Ahlstrom and Shaun Heenan were also unopposed, leaving city voters to pick among candidates for county executive, county clerk, a state judge and six statewide propositions.

City Democratic Party Chairman Frank Gawronski said it was the first time he could recall it happening as the party faithful gathered at the First Ward Falcon Club.

“It’s too bad; I’d prefer to see a choice out there and we’re not afraid of having an opponent,” he said Tuesday. “I think you have to ask them why they don’t have them. We have a strong ticket, I’m proud of it, but it’s unfortunate that the people don’t have a choice.”

Asked what he looked for from council, Gawronski said he never tells them how to vote.

“I always tell them in order to get things done you’ve got to work together. You have to try and work with the mayor as best you can and still be a check and a balance to anything that you don’t agree with,” he added. “They’ve got a lot on their plate, none of the big issues are easy. I’m just hoping that this NRG repowering proposal goes through and we can get back to somewhat of a normal operation of this city.”

Truman Bradley is chairman of the city Republican Party and said the diminishing number of Republicans in the city is an issue. He added people were asked to run and the committee followed up on a few leads but without any success.

“I don’t know what else to do. We’ll go through the rolls again, we’ll reach out,” he stated. “We’ve done it in the past, expressing the need for people to be involved. Obviously, we look at Independents, we look at Conservatives, we looked at like-thinking Democrats in the past. We leave all doors open. It’s always been tough but these last couple elections, it’s really been tough.”

Bradley and the Republicans have two years to round up candidates, including one for mayor, before the next city election in 2015.

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