Erie County voters set the stage Tuesday for an exciting general election struggle for control of the Erie County board of commissioners.
Voters nominated Michael Printy and Patrick Shenigo to run in November for two separate seats on the board.
Printy decisively settled the Republican primary contest for county commissioner, winning about 71 percent of the vote to defeat David Mulvin for the Republican nomination, 3,852 to 1,529. Printy will now go on to take on the incumbent, commissioner Tom Ferrell Jr., who is a Democrat.
In the other county commission race, Shenigo, a businessman and developer, narrowly defeated retired teacher and real estate agent Linda Miller-Moore to win the Democratic nomination for the county commission seat being given up by commissioner Nancy McKeen, who chose to retire rather than seek another term.
Shenigo will take on Republican Joe Hayberger in the November general election.
Democrats hold a 2-1 edge on the commission, so Republicans would have to win both contests to take control in November.
Printy, who celebrated the early returns with friends and family at Max and Erma's restaurant before removing the ice from his car and going home, said he feels good going into the Nov. 4 general election.
"Obviously, I'm pleased the voters had that much confidence in me," he said. "I feel very positive about being able to go on to the next round."
Printy said he knows it will take a lot of work to win the general election, but said he is ready.
"I'm very, very excited," he said.
Shenigo said he wants to thank the Democratic voters for allowing him to represent them in the general election.
"This campaign for political office began with a small group of my closest friends' advice and encouragement. Tonight marks the first step in a long journey, and I look forward to the general election in November," he said.
"I will continue to explore the many ways that we can move Erie County forward," Shenigo said.
He said his campaign knocked on more than 6,000 Erie County doors "in the winter, in the cold, in a blizzard."
"My nephew and I knocked on 2,750 doors personally," he said.
Miller-Moore said the narrow loss was hard to take.
"The voters have spoken and they've chosen the one they want. I just think it's a sad day for union members, the working men and women in Erie County and certainly the Democratic Party in Erie County. I believe I was the true Democratic candidate to represent working people," she said.
Chris Marinko, chairman of the Erie County Election Board, said Tuesday's primary attracted about 46 percent of the county's registered voters, just under the forecast issued by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.
Republicans had few interesting races other than the local county commissioner race, so "that probably took away some of the interest," he said.
The final results for Erie County's vote were posted at about 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. That's not bad, considering the ice and snow that covered Erie County roads Tuesday night, forcing election workers to struggle as they brought in ballots, Marinko said.
"We thought we were going to be here all night, but we're not," he said.