Democrats Face Off For State Assembly

September 13, 2012 Updated Sep 13, 2012 at 6:42 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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September 13, 2012 Updated Sep 13, 2012 at 6:42 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Incumbent Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D) is fighting for another shot in the State Assembly. He's facing off against two other candidates to get there -- Kevin Gaughan and Joseph Mascia.

Candidates spent primary election day pushing their issues to possible voters.

Both candidates cast their ballots, before trying to sway the vote.

Assemblyman Ryan has served one year in Albany during what he calls a "historic time" -- the state legislature passed a budget on time, a rarity in politics these days.

Ryan tells Eyewitness News "We had some really good accomplishments -- we had our second on time budget, got some tax cuts for the middle class and just a great focus on Buffalo's economy."

Ryan's championing a better education system and bringing jobs to Western New York.

He says the key to that is the Buffalo Billion -- one billion dollars in state aid heading to the Queen City. Ryan adds improving the waterfront is also crucial and that "We've done a lot of great work on the inner harbor. Now we're trying to take that good momentum, leap frog over the river and do that work on the outer harbor."

Kevin Gaughan believes the district, which serves Buffalo, Lackawanna and Hamburg, needs to send a fresh face to the State Assembly, telling Eyewitness News "The average Buffalo resident has a life of economic insecurity, they don't have the comforts of the political class."

Gaughan is also running on a platform of education and revitalizing Buffalo's economy.

His plan -- downsizing the government in Albany. Gaughan, the regionalism advocate, has already pioneered efforts to reduce the size of government in several local towns and villages.

He explains "If we reduced the legislature to it's original size, it's grown over the past 60 years ... That would save about 88-million dollars in taxes. That's about $888 million a year, which I believe we can use right here in Buffalo."

Joe Mascia says his experience in the Buffalo community will help him in Albany.

Mascia says "I'm a 4 time elected commissioner with the Buffalo municipal housing authority -- and we're used to handling budgets and costs and things of that nature."

Mascia says he is a Democrat, but is not "controlled by anyone in the party or in Albany. I think what people are looking for is true independence."

In the hours before the polls closed, candidates kept on rallying volunteers, making phone calls and talking to voters.

The final candidate will be on the ballot in the November general election.