A Bird of All Feathers: Restaino Sought GOP Endorsement, Now Running on both Dem and Conservative Lines

By Ken Cosentino

Mayor Restaino is a registered Democrat, and not surprisingly he’s been endorsed by the Democratic Committee. Conversely, he was also endorsed by the Conservative Party, which will help boost his votes in the general election. Arguably, Restaino sought the Conservative endorsement in order to appeal to another set of voters who are not aligned with Democratic ideals.

Restaino also sought out the Republican endorsement. He didn’t get it. This begs the question: Is Robert Restaino really a Democrat?

Despite having shown support for Restaino during his first mayoral campaign, the Republican Committee has made their stance clear by endorsing Carl Cain for mayor.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary makes the following differentiation between Republicans and Democrats: “In the political system of the United States, Democrats are largely associated with liberalism (a political philosophy based on belief in progress) while Republicans are associated with conservatism (a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability).”

To gain a better understanding in terms of smaller scale, the Reporter interviewed local political analyst Sam Archie; and asked him to elaborate on what it means to be Republican or Democrat in the city of Niagara Falls, NY. Once a member of the Republican Committee, Archie stepped down when he launched his show “Your Community Accountability With Sam & Jon,” joined by his co-host Jon Fadel.

Sam Archie

Says Archie, “I will vote for the individual, I don’t vote straight across the line. I stepped down when we built the studio in order to keep things fair and neutral.”

When asked to verify Mayor Restaino’s attempt to gain the Republican endorsement, Archie said, “He sought to get not only the endorsement but also authorization to petition on the Republican line, which means if he’d gotten enough signatures then he could run on our line.”

Traditionally, Democrats are supposed to stand up for the middle class and working class families. Says Archie, “Nationally, Republicans are for the rich and Democrats are for the poor. Democrats tax and spend, Republicans like to hold onto their money. I don’t think that philosophy is as strong locally as it is nationally. I think candidates think ‘where can I get more votes from?’”

One could argue that Mayor Restaino hasn’t shown much love to the middle and working class people of Niagara Falls. He has displayed a complete lack of transparency and a disdain for public input, all the while sneering down his nose from an ivory tower. Restaino has prohibited the voices of taxpaying voters by abusing his power of special meetings.

Says Archie, “I looked at one agenda where the mayor had a special meeting and he had like 67 agenda items on there! One of them was to honor Norma Higgs. Norma has done a lot in the community and very well known. I imagine there would be a lot of people who would have liked to have spoken on her behalf when she was getting that award. He took that away from her, that should not have been a special meeting item.”

Usually, whoever wins the Democratic Primary for mayor in the city of Niagara Falls will win the general election (the most recent exception being Mayor Irene Elia). Most voters will vote straight down the line of their preferred party.

According to Archie, “It’s strange because the Democratic enrollment has dropped in the city, and the Republican enrollment has jumped up. There’s still a big gap, about an 8,500 voter difference between the two.”

With voter turnout at an all time low in the 2019 election; 8,500 is an astronomically high number of voters. Archie told the Reporter, “Based on his actions, [Mayor Restaino] has more of a Republican mentality. For the most part, Bob is Conservative. He doesn’t like to waste money, even though the council is screaming at him about this National Grid thing.”

Archie also said, “Now his Centennial Park is a great idea, but how do you put $150 million on the taxpayer’s back when we can’t afford it? We have one of the highest tax rates in the county; if not the state. We’re almost at our maximum tax limit. The $150 million project is not feasible, it’s doable, but not for this city.”

Says Archie, “I’m not giving a free pass to NFR, who have gone 25 years giving us a ‘wish sandwich.’ But they did make an offer to the city to give properties to the city for Centennial Park, as long as the city lets them keep the data center where they want it to be. Bob’s being stubborn about it and not cutting a deal. Instead he’s costing the city about $10 million… if not more in legal expenses to obtain that property.”

The Republicans didn’t endorse Mayor Restaino, but he did manage to obtain the Conservative Party endorsement. This move is viewed by many as contradictory to what it means to be a Democrat.

Says Archie, “If you’re a Democrat, how can you be a Conservative? The Democrat way of life is to tax and spend.”

Adding to his point, Archie said, “Normally Democrats will get the Democratic and Working Family lines, and Republicans get the Republican line and the Conservative line.”

Basically, the mayoral candidates most likely to win an election in the city of Niagara Falls are registered Democrats. For those Democrats who truly believe in the ideals of their party, Restaino masquerading as one of their own is truly a slap in the face. If he’s a true Democrat, then why did he seek the Republican endorsement?

You can catch Sam Archie’s show “Your Community Accountability With Sam & Jon” live every Tuesday night at 7 PM on Facebook.


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