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By: Ken Hamilton
Perhaps the state’s board of election’s web site calendar and its confluence with the nation’s Memorial Day is a harbinger of things to come when it comes to the dark horse candidacy of USAF Sgt. Jeffrey Elder’s trek to the corner office of City Hall as mayor. That calendar says that the Air Force One steward must either turn in his independent (with a small “i”) self-nominating petitions between May 21 – May 28 (Tuesday), or either have them bound and post marked by then, to be placed on the bottom of the ballot in November’ election.
But will he have collected the 5,000 good names and addresses on those petitions in order to be considered for the mayoral spot? Who knows?
As I said a few weeks ago about his campaign, he is being very hushed about it; and well he should. If he is smart, and I don’t consider him to be a dummy, he would wait until the last minute on Tuesday to have them clocked in at the very last minute after the board of elections close, denying both the Robert Restaino and Set Piccirillo camps as much time to scrub his petitions as possible.
A petition scrub is one whereas each camp combs the Elder petitions to disqualify as many signatures as possible, hopefully forcing Elder out of the race for mayor. It’s not that Elder can actually win Mayor Paul Dyster’s seat, but because Elder is an African American, and Niagara Falls’ African –American voters overwhelmingly vote for the Democrats, it is possible for him to pull enough votes from Piccirillo if he wins his primary and Restaino stays in the race for Republican mayoral candidate Glenn Choolokian to be the next mayor of Niagara Falls.
Elder will not be in the primaries.
Elder has been very quietly collecting signatures and it is rumored that he has collected three-times the number that is needed. But the people who are passing his petitions are not the savviest of petition collectors, allowing any and everybody the opportunity to sign.
Why wouldn’t they be savvy? If you are being paid by the total number of signatures signed, rather than by the number of good signatures, then which way would you go in either getting them signed or signing them yourself?
But as I have previously said, though Elder has little chance to win, he can actually rudder the outcome by what he does if and after his petitions prove good. He can negotiate a position with any and all of the candidates – because that’s how politics often work in a city where alliances and elections are not decided by how much someone can help a candidate, but by how much a person can hurt the aspirations of another.
Is Elder is or is Elder ain’t going to be the mayor. By Wednesday morning we should know whether or not it is a “memorial day” for Elder’s hope of becoming either the mayor or just a player or not – if he actually turns in his properly prepared petition package; it will be sometime after the challenges to the signatures by his opponent’s camps if his candidacy is affirmed.
Watch the Niagara Reporter website to follow this story throughout the week. While the race may soon turn nasty, at least Elder brings some other kind of interest to it.