By Terry Duffy and Joshua Maloni
Half of Lewiston's candidates for elected office went to bed Tuesday unsure if they'll serve the people come January.
In the race for two council positions, political newcomer Robin Morreale (1,571), a Democrat, is currently leading fellow party member and former Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte (1,551), as well as incumbent Republican William Conrad (1,527).
Democrat David Trane (1,690), also seeking elected office for the first time, leads incumbent Republican Doug Janese (1,661) for the highway superintendent position. Three write-in votes were submitted in this race.
Republicans Steve Broderick and Bill Geiben have insurmountable leads, with the former taking the supervisor's race and the latter returning to the Town Council. Broderick (1,824 votes) defeated Deputy Supervisor Mark Briglio (1,507). He will replace Dennis Brochey, who is resigning next week and moving with his family to Las Vegas. Geiben was the top choice in his field, claiming 1,771 votes.
One hundred and sixty-two absentee ballots were cast and are expected to be tabulated in the next 10-11 days.
It was a night of nail-biting for the Democrats, who gathered together at Apple Granny, and the Republicans, who assembled at Macri's.
"It's all going to count on the absentee ballots," Trane said. "We're going to have to wait. ... Like they say, we're going to have to have another party to figure out who wins this one!"
Trane, who worked for the state's Department of Transportation for 10 years, said his experience, leadership with the Niagara Falls Fire Department, and work with unions, "may have made a big difference."
"I had a lot of support from people that were willing to put their name with mine," Trane said. "That made me feel good. When I'm done - win or lose - I'm calling these people and thanking them. It showed a lot that they were able to step up and say, 'Dave, we believe in you. We trust in you. We know you can do the job.' And they backed me 100 percent."
Morreale, who was running against a former assemblywoman (DelMonte), a one-time mayor (Geiben) and a sitting councilman (Conrad), said, "I'm surprised. I didn't think I'd do as well as I did, but I want to thank the voters.
"I had surgery (on his knee); I couldn't campaign like I wanted to."
He said voters wanted "new blood."
"I think people were ready for a change," Morreale said, and speculated his 35 years of business experience resonated with town residents.
He added, "I would've liked to have seen Francine in there also. With her experience with the state level, I think it would've done well."
Morreale said, "I hope to work with them" referring to GOP council members Ron Winkley, Al Bax and Beth Ceretto. "I hope they include me in all their decisions."
Knowing Trane and Morreale are winning - and that she could still claim a board seat - DelMonte said, "I'm grateful that we made some strides in breaking the one-party rule that's been in Lewiston."
"It's still a good night overall," she added.
Trane said more could be accomplished in Lewiston if voters and elected leaders saw past party lines.
"The problem you end up with a lot - and I notice it a lot in Lewiston - is they don't cross party lines. They're just voting for the party instead of voting for the person they feel will get the job done," he said. "What's happening is that's carrying on to the board, and they're (having) a little friction between party lines on the board. And they end up not working together, and that just costs the taxpayers.
"This is what is being noticed. If there's a town tax ... it's because they're not working together. We can work together and keep things under control if we have some cooperation from each other."
Broderick called his win "Fantastic."
"It was a long, long battle," he said. "I want to congratulate Mark Briglio. He and I talked back in April, and we promised each other it would be a clean campaign, and we were going to run on our own merits. He did that; I did that; and we both can hold our heads up. We are both part of this community, and I congratulate him first.
"And I want to say I want to thank everybody in Lewiston for believing in me. ... And the next step is doing a good job."
Geiben said he was, "Humbled by the results."
"I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to serve the community again, and I look forward to a challenging four years," he added.
Town justices Hugh Gee and Thomas Sheeran and Clerk Donna Garfinkel had a less stressful night, as each ran unopposed en route to returning for another term.
All election results are currently unofficial.
Rob Morreale and Dave Trane shake hands after hearing the Election Day results Tuesday inside Apple Granny Restaurant in Lewiston.