By Larry Austin
Island Dispatch Editor
Grand Island Republicans swept back into office after handily winning all the offices up for grabs Tuesday on Election night.
Republican-endorsed candidates John Whitney (town supervisor), Tom Digati and Mike Madigan (Town Council), Pattie Frentzel (town clerk) and Mark Nemeth (town justice) were all elected with the closest challenger to any of them coming 700 votes back with more than 6,000 Islanders voting.
The Democrats had strong results in the tabulation of the first-ever early voting process, but similar results did not carry over to election night Tuesday. With four running for two seats on the council, incumbent Bev Kinney led all candidates with 606 votes from the first-ever early voting process. Democrat challenger Jennifer Pusatier trailed incumbent Mike Madigan by five votes and led GOP challenger Tom Digati by eight. Digati finished with 3,702, and Madigan had 3,689, the latter with 700 more than Kinney and nearly 1,000 more than Pusatier, when all was said and done Tuesday.
Republican John Whitney thanked Grand Island voters for his election to town supervisor, taking 52% of votes in a three-way race with Conservative Tom Franz and Democrat Deputy Supervisor Jim Sharpe. Whitney said, “I am truly humbled by your support.
“There are so many people that I need to thank: my family and my friends, all the people that supported me in this endeavor. I couldn’t have done this without your help.
“I promise to do my best to work for each and every one of you, our citizens. Please know that your opinion matters, my door will always be open, I want to hear from you. Communication is the key to success.
“I want to thank my opponents in this race for running a clean campaign. We promised each other at the start that we would, and we did. I believe that we all have Grand Island’s best interest at heart and I will seek their input to help make this happen.”
Whitney said outgoing Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, who did not seek re-election, called him on election night “and promised to work with me on a smooth transition. I look forward to working with him and Deputy Supervisor Jim Sharpe to make this as seamless as possible.
“With the proposed Amazon and Southpointe projects before us, we are facing some of the most important decisions ever to come before Grand Island. Collectively, we must work together to make the best decisions that are in the best possible interest of our town. I need your input to make this happen.
“Finally, I would like to congratulate Town Clerk Pattie Frentzel and Councilman Mike Madigan on their re-election as well as Councilman-elect Tom Digati and Town Justice-elect Mark Nemeth on their election. I look forward to working with you.”
Councilman Mike Madigan was re-elected to another four-year term along with GOP challenger Tom Digati, the top vote-getter in a four-candidate council race that included incumbent Bev Kinney and Democrat challenger Jenn Pusatier.
All five Town Board members will be Republicans with Madigan being the senior councilman.
“Thank you Grand Island residents for re-electing me to our Town Council. I am extremely grateful,” said Councilman Mike Madigan. “I would like to thank all of my opponents in this race; we all ran a clean and respectful campaign.
“I would sincerely like to congratulate Bev and Jennifer, who both fought hard in their campaign. They can be proud of their effort.
“I would also like to thank Bev for her past four years on the Council. She worked hard and we owe her a debt of gratitude for her service to our town.
“I look forwards to continuing to represent all Grand Island residents. I congratulate new Councilmember Tom Digati in his great victory and look forward to working with him in the coming years.
“I love our town and the incredibly unique character and culture that our Island has. Our town has tremendous potential that I will seek to both protect and grow. Thanks again for this opportunity.”
Kinney won election in 2015 and like Madigan was seeking a second term.
“Congratulations to the Republican team. I wish you all the best of luck in your new and renewed positions for the town,” said Kinney. “It has been my privilege to serve the Grand Island community!”
“I will miss all the wonderful town employees who work hard every day for all of us,” she said. “The blessing is I have made wonderful friends that I get to take away with me. I want to thank all those who have supported me and the great initiatives we were able to accomplish together in my time on the town board.
“A heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to my awesome committee who worked tirelessly for me and my campaign! Thank you to my running mates – you all are simply the best! You all have enriched my life in more ways than I can count.
“Life is a gift and I look forward to moving forward to my next adventure. Thank you Grand Island for all you have given me!”
Kevin Hardwick was reelected to another term in the Erie County Legislature over challenge Jacob McMahon of Grand Island.
“I am grateful for all who supported me in Tuesday’s election,” Hardwick said. “I look forward to another two years looking out for the interests of all the people of Grand Island and the Tonawandas in the Erie County Legislature.”