For those political candidates who are seeking to win office, a major hurdle was passed on Sept. 13, as the primary election for state and local candidates has come and gone.
As the dust settles from a busy night, the matchups are set and the race to the finish line has officially begun for several hopefuls.
For those who were unsuccessful in the primary races, we credit all of you who were willing to throw your name in and run for office with the hope of bringing about positive change.
This is an important year on all levels.
It begins at the top as we as a country must decide who will hold the nationís highest office for the next four years. Will President Barack Obama be reelected and be a two-term president? Or will our Democratic president be defeated by GOP challenger Mitt Romney?
Election night is always exciting, especially in years when the decision is made about the presidency.
When our next president is decided, then will his party have control of Congress for the next two years?
Locally, one of the most watched races involves Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, the former Hamburg Town Councilwoman and Erie County Clerk, against former Erie County Executive Chris Collins, who was defeated by Mark Poloncarz in 2011.
Hochul won the seat in a special election in 2011, following the resignation of former Congressman Chris Lee. With the congressional lines redrawn, it is anybodyís guess as to who will come out on top.
There will also be several key state races that appear to be wide open. In the State Senateís 60th District race, incumbent Republican Mark Grisanti will face stiff competition from Democrat Mike Amodeo. Conservative Party candidate Charles Swanick and Working Families candidate Gregory Davis will also be options for voters.
In the race for the State Assemblyís 147th District, Christina Abt, the Democratic, Independence and Working Families candidate, will square off against David DiPietro, who will hold the Republican and Conservative lines.
The only thing that is safe to say is that there will be a new representative in that district after current Assemblyman Kevin Smardz did not seek reelection due to personal reasons.
Sean Ryan will look to retain his seat as the 149th District Assemblyman after winning his primary, and will face Conservative party candidate Joseph Mascia in November.
While in Erie County, the Comptrollerís race will come down to David Shenk, who was appointed to fill the first year of Mark Poloncarz remaining term after he became county executive, and Stefan Mychajliw.
Shenk will be the Democratic and Working Families candidate, with Mychajliw as the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties candidate.
We are not going to try and tell our readers who they should or should not vote for. But we do want to challenge the candidates to simply keep the campaigns clean and issue oriented.
In an ideal world, as our television sets become infiltrated with political ads over the next month-and-a-half, we would like to see the money spent talking about what the candidate will do for us.
We are still working our way through an economic decline, and there are many people jobless as prices of products, including gas, continue to rise. Right now, we do not need negative ads and taking shots at opponents. If you disagree with a suggestion, just say so and offer an alternative.
Our sincerest congratulations to those who are still standing as we now enter the final six weeks until Nov. 6 arrives and the 2012 election season comes to an end. To the remaining candidates we ask this: Why should we vote for you?