Republicans in Niagara County will head to the polls today to cast their ballots in the state’s presidential primary, though they could be making more of a statement than providing a major influence on the party’s nomination.
New York boasts the third-largest voting power at the Republican National Convention and the state’s 95 delegates up for grabs had been heralded as vital for any presidential hopeful looking for the 1,144 necessary to secure the GOP’s nomination.
But former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has opened up a sizeable lead on the challengers whose names will appear on Tuesday’s ballot and solidified his support after former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, a distant No. 2 in the national delegate standings, suspended his campaign two weeks ago.
That announcement came on the same day a Siena Research Institute poll found Romney had the support of 51 percent of likely New York primary voters, a sizable edge over Santorum’s 18 percent. Fellow hopefuls Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were backed by 11 percent and 6 percent of likely voters in the poll, respectively.
Paul and Gingrich could make inroads against Romney by picking up Santorum supporters, though Santorum’s name will still be on the ballot because the candidate never filed paperwork necessary to formally withdraw from the race.
In Niagara County, there are a consolidated 92 voting machines open from noon to 9 p.m., according to the County Board of Elections, though only registered Republicans will be allowed to vote in the primary.
• In the City of Lockport, voters in the city’s 1st ward, district 1 vote at the Senior Center; district 2 vote at the Carra Center, 391 Market Street; district 3 voters report to Washington Hunt; and district 4 voters go to St. John’s on Chestnut Street. In the 2nd ward, districts 1, 2 and 3 voting will occur at the Kenan Center, which the 4th district votes at Briarwood Manor. Third ward voters will vote at the Outwater Park shelter house (district 1), Anna Merritt (district 2), and Charlotte Cross (district 3). In the city’s 4th ward, voters will cast ballots at Charles Upson (district 1), First Presbyterian Church (districts 2 and 3), and the library (district 4). Voters in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts of the 5th ward will vote at Lockport Alliance Church on Davison Road, while their 4th district counterparts will cast ballots at Roy B. Kelley.
• In the Town of Lockport, district’s 1, 15 and 16 will vote at Wrights Corners Fire Hall, district 2 will vote at the Public Safety Training Facility next to the Niagara County Jail, districts 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12 will vote at South Lockport Fire Co., district 6 will vote at the Rapids Fire Co. substation on Old Beattie Road, districts 7, 8 and 9 will vote at Rapids Fire Co. on Plank Road, and districts 13 and 14 will vote at the South Lockport Fire Co. substation on Ernest Road.
• Cambria voters will all vote at the Cambria Fire Hall.
• Hartland voters will cast ballots at the Hartland Fire Co.
• Newfane voters will split between the Olcott Fire Co. (districts 1, 2, 6 and 8), and the Newfane Town Hall (districts 3, 4, 5 and 7).
• Pendleton residents will cast ballots at the Wendelville Fire Co.
• Royalton residents in the 1st district will vote at the Gasport Fire Co. Those in the 2nd district will vote at the Middleport Fire Co. Third and 6th district voters report to Terry’s Corners Fire Co, and 4th and 5th district voting will be done at Wolcottsville Fire Co.
• In Somerset, all voting will be done at the Barker Fire Co.
• Wilson voting will be split between the Wilson Fire Co. (districts 1, 4 and 5) and South Wilson Fire Co. (districts 2 and 3).
According to the state Board of Elections, 46,072 of New York’s 2.8 million registered Republicans live in Niagara County, but county breakdown is not nearly as significant today as New York’s 29 Congressional districts, which will be reduced to 27 beginning with the June Congressional primary.
This will be the first presidential election in which two delegates will be awarded to the victor in each Congressional district. The state Legislature has enacted an at-large system to assign the remaining delegates. Previously, New York was winner-take-all.
Republicans in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island will also head to the polls today. A combined 136 delegates are at stake in those elections.
The Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin August 27 in Tampa, Fla.