In what must be considered good news for the mayoral campaign of Republican John Accardo, Democratic mayoral candidate and city Councilman Glenn Choolokian has announced he will continue his campaign, running a write in race in what must be most believe will be one of the closest mayoral contests in recent Niagara Falls history.
Choolokian lost a squeaker to incumbent Mayor Paul Dyster in the September Democratic primary, coming up just 73 votes shy of pulling off a major upset.
Clearly, the Democratic voters’ displeasure with Dyster – who had won all of his previous races by at least 7 percentage points, was evident. The two term mayor has presided over eight years of economic stagnation, declining population, rising crime and an explosion in the number of registered sex offenders living in the city.
At the same time, Dyster’s relentless promotion of expensive events with dubious economic benefit – the disastrous Holiday Market and the lackluster Hard Rock Café concert series spring immediately to mind – have caused the city to run through nearly $200 million in revenue from the local share of the Seneca Niagara Casino with virtually no tangible result.
Incredibly expensive public works projects such as the $46.5 million North Main Street courthouse and the way behind schedule $45 million train station have soaked up monies that could have been spent improving the quality of the city streets putting more police officers on the streets.
The fact that Dyster has worn out his welcome with nearly half the city Democrats should mean that in the open race against Accardo in November, where Republicans will get to weigh in on the mayor’s eight year record, should spell doom for Dyster.
A minority believe, however, that Choolokian staying in the race might serve only to split the anti Dyster vote, making the mayor’s reelection easier rather than more difficult.
In any event, a write in campaign only rarely results in victory for the write in candidate. One challenge Choolokian faces is name, which newspaper writers have been challenged to spell correctly for as long as he’s served in public office.
A misspelling can invalidate the vote.
To make it easier for voters to vote for him, the Choolokian campaign is printing up several thousand stickers bearing his name and sized to fit the write in space on the ballot.