Olean alderman races

Olean Alderman Kevin Dougherty, R-Ward 4 (left) speaks with Dale and Cindy Smith of Olean at the city Republican Party headquarters on West State Street after winning a third term on the Olean Common Council on Tuesday. In the background, Reed McElfresh, a political newcomer, checks results in his close race for the Ward 7 alderman post.

OLEAN — The Republican Party appeared to sweep most of the city alderman races, with the one undecided still led by the Republican candidate.

All vote tallies are unofficial and include only ballots cast during early voting or in person on Tuesday. Absentee ballots are not included, nor are affidavit ballots or write-ins. A full recanvas of the vote is set for later in the month.

Turnout appeared to be lower in most wards than in the 2017 election, with only Ward 4 seeing a slightly higher turnout. The 2017 election, while considered an “off year” for elections due to no major state or federal races, was also the last mayoral election for Olean.

WARD 2

Jason Panus of Division Street, on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, received 257 votes, taking the race with 57.29% of the vote.

Panus was unable to attend the GOP election night return party and could not be reached for comment.

Also receiving votes was Traceylynn Huselstein of Queen Street, on the Democratic and Working Families lines, who received 165 votes. Kevin Bartholemew of Bishop Street, on the Libertarian line, received 40 votes.

Panus will replace Republican Kelly Andreano as she takes a seat on the county Legislature.

In 2017, 603 votes were cast in the ward.

WARD 4

Incumbent Kevin Dougherty of West Sullivan Street, on the Republican, Conservative, Independence lines, received 275 votes to win a third term on the council with plurality of 45.36%.

“I’d like to start off by thanking my opponents for a vigorous campaign,” Dougherty said, also thanking the voters who turned out to cast their ballots. “At the end of the day, the voters got what they wanted.”

Paul Sungenis of North Fifth Street, on the Democratic and Libertarian lines, received 86 votes. James Gulnac of West Sullivan Street, on the 4 Change independent line, received 50 votes. Evelyn Cruz of Tompkins Street, on the Alternative independent line, received 17 votes.

In 2017, 281 votes were cast in the ward.

WARD 6

Incumbent Nate Smith of Irving Parkway, on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, received 218 votes, taking 66.87 percent of the ballots for a fifth term.

“It’s been a good eight years — I’m excited to do it for two years more,” Smith said, adding he will continue to serve his constituents to the best of his ability. “I appreciate the guy who ran against me, Peyton. He’s a nice guy, and I wish him the best.”

Peyton Kunselman of North 19th Street, on the Democratic and Working Families lines, received 108 votes.

In 2017, 447 votes were cast in the ward.

WARD 7

Reed McElfresh of Oak Street, on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines, received 198 votes, taking a four-vote lead over former alderman and county legislator David Anastasia of Maple Street, who received 194 votes on the Democratic and Working Families lines. An unknown number of absentee ballots will likely decide the race.

The victor will replace Republican Brian George, who chose not to run again in favor of running for the county legislature.

In 2017, 460 votes were cast in the ward.

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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