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Anello, newcomer file mayoral bids

Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello's nominating petitions arrived in Monday's mail at the Niagara County Board of Elections, as did petitions from a previously unannounced candidate.

That means six people have entered the Falls mayoral race.

Norton J. Douglas, 49, of Chilton Avenue, filed 1,077 signatures to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot. The minimum number of valid signatures needed is 791.

Other politicians said Douglas works as a letter carrier. His petitions were witnessed by Terry Lowery, a onetime candidate for Niagara County sheriff. Neither he nor Douglas could be reached Monday night.

Anello, meantime, filed 1,391 signatures on his Democratic petitions. He also filed 39 Independence Party signatures, five more than the minimum needed to qualify for that party's primary; he is the endorsed Independence candidate.

Anello and Douglas will be entered in the Sept. 18 Democratic primary along with Councilman Lewis "Babe" Rotella, the party committee's endorsed candidate; former Councilman Paul A. Dyster; and business owner Paul E. Argy Jr.

Last week, Rotella handed in 1,853 signatures, Dyster 1,434 and Argy 873.

Former Councilwoman Candra C. Thomason is the only Republican in the race. Dyster scored a victory at her expense Monday, when minor-party authorizations were filed at the Board of Elections.

The Independence Party authorized only Dyster and Anello to compete in its primary, and Dyster received the only authorizations filed by the Conservative and Working Families parties. That means the Independence and Conservative petitions Thomason filed are invalid.

Under state law, county party chairmen decide whether any candidates who aren't registered members of their party will be allowed to run under its banner. Candidates who aren't authorized are booted out of the party's primary. The sole exceptions are candidates for judgeships, who may run in any and all parties without anyone's permission.

So unless there is a write-in effort, the Independence primary for Niagara Falls mayor will be a two-man matchup between Anello and Dyster, while Dyster will have the Conservative and Working Families lines in the November election.

"Obviously the Democratic primary is of the greatest importance to me," Dyster said, "but it is important to have those minor lines."

He said he was ready to file an "opportunity to ballot" petition, forcing a write-in primary on the Independence line, if the party hadn't authorized him to run.

"It's good to see the Independence Party acting independently," Dyster said.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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