Bower holds on to lead over Drennan in sheriff race

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Randy Bower is all smiles outside the Board of Elections office when he realizes he has won the Republican line for Orleans County sheriff in the Nov. 3 election. Chris Bourke, left, has been campaigning with Bower as Bower’s choice for undersheriff. Bourke is currently a lieutenant in the Sheriff’s Office.

ALBION – Randy Bower has captured the Republican line for sheriff in the general election. It was a hard-fought victory for Bower, an effort that began several months ago.

Bower wasn’t endorsed by the Republican Party leaders. He forced a primary and had a razor-thin 27-vote lead, 1,588 to 1,561, over Tom Drennan after the primary on Thursday.

When the absentees and affidavit ballots were counted this morning, Drennan gained 6 votes overall. But that wasn’t enough to erase the 27-vote buffer Bower built up.

The final unofficial results give Bower 1,671 votes to 1,650 for Drennan. (There is a chance a few more votes could trickle in by the Thursday deadline, but they would need to have been mailed by Sept. 9. Election Commissioner Dennis Piediomonte doubts any more will come in.)

“It has been a tough race,” Bower said after the absentees were counted. “He (Drennan) did really well with it. I’m sure we were both sitting on pins and needles.”

Drennan will remain on the ballot with the Independence and Reform lines. The Independence line is the third one down, ahead of the Conservatives.

The Nov. 3 election also will include a Democratic Party candidate, retired Medina police investigator Don Organisciak.

With another candidate in the mix, as well as independent and third-party voters, Piedimonte said it’s difficult to forecast who will win.

Randy Bower has been highly visible in the community in recent months, attending festivals, chicken barbecue dinners, classic car shows and numerous other events. He is pictured here on Friday in Albion during a memorial service on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Bower pulled off a significant upset by winning the GOP Primary. As the endorsed-candidate, Drennan had the support of many Republican leaders. Morgan said both Drennan, the chief deputy in the Sheriff’s Office, and Bower, a dispatcher for nearly 30 years, both have worked hard campaigning in recent months.

“They’re both good people,” Morgan said after the vote was announced this morning.

Bower said he is looking for broad-based support in the general election, drawing on Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, independent voters and third parties.

He said the Conservative Party helped to get his campaign going with an endorsement in early May, before the Republicans backed a candidate.

“It started as a grass roots effort,” Bower said. “It has been a team effort and we will bring a team mentality to the Sheriff’s Office. We will get everybody helping everybody in Orleans County.”

Bower, 50, of Murray said his campaign has gained energy and support since the spring. Securing the Republican line adds more momentum to the campaign, he said.

“Nobody can do it by themselves,” he said. “I’m here to lead and to surround myself with good people.”