“Deceptive” Independence Party Mailer Sparks Debate in Wheatfield

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By: Nicholas D. D’Angelo

Managing Editor

The Niagara Reporter was first to report on Wednesday, October 30th, regarding a mailer that was sent out by the Niagara County Independence Party.

In particular, allegations of deceiving voters were hurled by Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski as it appeared – to County Clerk Jastrzemski and others – as though Chairperson Susan Agnello-Eberwein (I) was attempting to trick Republican voters into believing endorsed legislative Candidate Erik Herbert was on a “team” with popular Wheatfield officials who happen to be republican.

 

 

“The mailer looked as though it was sent out by republicans,” said County Clerk Jastrzemski.

Early Thursday morning, on October 31st, 2019, the Niagara Reporter learned that there was indeed a second mailer sent out to republican voters in Niagara County’s 7th Legislative District. This is the district endorsed Independent candidate Erik Herbert is running in against incumbent Jesse Gooch, a republican. However, the mailer sent to republican voters did not have “paid for by the Niagara County Independence Party” as did the mailer sent to independent and non-party affiliate voters. This was confirmed by Chairperson Agnello-Eberwein.

“The [mailers] I sent out to non-affiliated voters or to independent voters was sent out with the ‘paid for by the Niagara County Independence Party,” said Agnello-Eberwein. “The mailers sent out to republicans and democrats did not.”

 

This is a photograph of the mailer sent out to Independents in the 7th Legislative District. As you can see, it bears the “paid for” language.

 

This is a photograph of the mailer sent out to Democrats and Republicans in the 7th Legislative District. As you can see, it does not bear the “paid for” language.

 

Looking closely at the mailer, it is clear that the one sent to republicans, photographed above, does not bear the “paid for” language indicating who sent it. This, according to County Clerk Jastrzemski, is a problem.”

“It was meant to deceive,” said County Clerk Jastrzemski. “There is no doubt in my mind. I would never give permission for my photograph, let alone language on a mailer that looks like an endorsement, to be used in such a manner.”

Rather, County Clerk Jastrzemski states that his endorsement is for incumbent Republican Jesse Gooch.

“Legislator Gooch has fully supported the Niagara County Clerk’s Office since his appointment to the position,” said County Clerk Jastrzemski. “That includes in our opposition of Governor Cuomo’s horrific Green Light Law, opposition to the license plate charge that was rescinded by the Governor, and in honoring our veterans.”

Despite County Clerk Jastrzemski’s position on the mailer, Chairperson Agnello-Eberwein believes there was nothing wrong with it.

“I truly believe the headlines of what Joe said is very wrong,” she said. “He was just elected Republican of the year, so it makes sense that he is going to stick with the Republicans.”

 

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