Sutherland congratulates Welch, looks forward to new chapter in his life
By Joshua Maloni
Anne Welch's three-vote margin of victory in the general election will stand, as opponent Bruce Sutherland will not take legal action to challenge the mayoral race results.
In a letter to the Lewiston community submitted to NFP on Tuesday night, Sutherland wrote, "The hard-fought village election is over and I want to thank all my supporters for their loyal and unwavering support over the past eight years I have served on the Village Board. It has been an honor and privilege to work on your behalf and I value and appreciate all the wonderful friends, associates and neighbors I have had the pleasure of working with. I have learned so much and am confident I have made a contribution to help our beloved village become even better.
"I congratulate our new mayor, Anne Welch, and pledge to do whatever I can to assist her if and when my services may be needed. Yes, it was heartbreaking to lose by only three votes, but I believe we were both gratified by the level of interest in the campaign and the high voter turnout. It shows that Lewistonians are engaged and active in keeping the village the envy of other small towns."
Last week, following a recanvassing of votes and certification of results by the Niagara County Board of Elections, Village of Lewiston Republican Committee Chairman Karl Frankovitch said, "There could possibly be a (legal) challenge. There were some ... irregularities with who voted and with the absentees."
He added, "We verified what we already knew. Now we have to look at some of the allegations and see if they're worth pursuing. ... It's not ultimately up to me. It's up to the candidate."
Sutherland said he was weighing his options, noting his intent to have a fair election with ballots cast by those eligible to vote.
Both he and Welch are Republican, though she ran on the Democrat Party line upon losing to Sutherland in April's GOP caucus.
Welch will be sworn into office on Monday. The Village of Lewiston reorganizational meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. inside the Morgan Lewis Village Boardroom at the Red Brick Municipal Building.
After hearing from the Niagara County Board of Elections last week, Welch told NFP, "I'm so excited, and so much is going through my head about all the things that I want to do, and get going. I'm really, really excited."
Sutherland, the current deputy mayor, said, "This is not an end, but a beginning of a new chapter for me. I look forward to getting more involved in volunteering and being part of the new VFW memorial project. I also would like to do what I can to save the Frontier House. There are a number of community opportunities that will keep me busy, and I hope to team up with all my Lewiston neighbors and friends to continue to improve our quality of life anyway I can. Hopefully I'll see you soon at the Orange Cat, or just walking down Center Street enjoying the day. We have so much to be thankful for and I am particularly thankful to be part of this beautiful village.
"Your friendship means the world to me."