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Just How Wily is Niagara Falls Mayoral Candidate Jeffrey Elder?

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By: Ken Hamilton

In politically lopsided places like the heavily-Democratic Niagara Falls NY, most local general elections are often won or lost in the primaries – as it likely was for mayoral contender board of education member Robert Restaino, despite a surprisingly close showing by Community Development and Code Enforcement Director Seth Piccirillo.

Restaino would likely have cruised through the desert, below the mesas and down the winding, cactus-rimmed highway to a November victory but for two wily roadrunners trying to drop anvils on his head: Republican-register Glenn Choolokian, and independent, opportunity-to-ballot, retired US Air Force Sergeant Jeffrey Elder.  Both Choolokian and Elder will appear on November’s General Ballot.

But wait!

Good ol’ Wikipedia writes that, “”It ain’t over till the fat lady sings” is a colloquialism which is often used as a proverb. It means that one should not presume to know the outcome of an event which is still in progress. More specifically, the phrase is used when a situation is nearing its conclusion. It cautions against assuming that the current state of an event is irreversible and clearly determines how or when the event will end. The phrase is most commonly used in association with organized competitions, particularly sports.”

A Whitney Avenue resident interrupted me with a phone call on Tuesday June 23 as I was munching on a chopped salad at a local Subway sandwich shop. He said that there was a man on the porch asking if he would sign a petition for Elders for Mayor. I told the resident that the petition season was over and I knew no reason for him to be there passing any petitions at all.

But after taking the telephone call, one had to ask just how crafty is Jeffrey “Wily Coyote” Elder.  I had run into him at the Burger King on Main Street and asked him to tell me more about his aims to win the mayorship election, but he cracked his tight-lipped on the subject only long enough to smile for a selfie with me.

After the Whitney Avenue man hung up, and I finished my salad, I then browsed the New York State Board of Elections 2019 Calendar under ‘Party Nominations Other Than Primary’ and saw that Tuesday, September 3rd will the last day filing nominations made by a new party.

So then, “Wile E. Elder’s” attempt to catch Restaino the Roadrunner for a seat behind the mayor’s desk is getting more and more interesting and quite a learning experience – if that is the case of him starting a new party.

But here — whereas I admit that I am not an elections attorney — is where it gets complicated. We might normally know when a new party has been created by now; and due to Elder’s tight-lippedness, we just don’t know.  When I asked several people of what all of this could mean, the only thing that made any sense was said by just one of them; “… maybe he one of the [people] that Elder hired to pass petitions [between May 21 and May 28th] and just now woke up and started passing them.”

Nonetheless, be it that Elder is a political dark horse, or maybe even a wily coyote in the race as is Choolokian, but if Restaino is to be the odds-on contender to win, then I am still waiting to hear his traditional “Meep-meep” followed by a streaking cloud of dust as he makes his way west through the desert, running below the mesas and down the sinewy cactus-rimmed highway off into the sunset.  And while he’s running, he’d better be hoping to hear the singing echoes of a soprano’s song bouncing off the mesa’s rocky walls, belting out the operatic tune of a November victory. 


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