It appears that a challenge to a nominating petition for a Common Council candidate will be rejected because of an error made by a veteran incumbent.
Forms at the Niagara County Board of Elections showed late last week that when Republican Alderwoman Phyllis J. Green challenged the GOP petitions of her 1st Ward primary opponent, Richelle J. Pasceri, she did not write Pasceri's name on the line identifying the candidate being challenged.
Instead, Green wrote in the blank, "Republican."
Republican Election Commissioner Scott P. Kiedrowski said, "Can I surmise what she means? Yes. Is it filled out properly? No."
"I guess we won't have to do much research on that one," said Democratic Commissioner Nancy L. Smith.
Making the matter worse for Green was that she appeared to have a winning challenge. She had uncovered enough apparently invalid signatures on Pasceri's petitions to knock her off the ballot.
But Kiedrowski and Smith said they do not get to consider the specifics if the general objection is not all in order.
Green was momentarily speechless when informed of the problem by The Buffalo News. She then said, "I think that somebody down there made a mistake. They didn't check it over."
Green also pointed to Michael J. Norris, a former GOP election commissioner who notarized her challenge form. "He's been involved in politics for years. He should have caught it, too," Green said. "Part of it is my fault. I'll take some of the blame."
Norris said it was not his job to review the form. "I witnessed her signature," he said.
In other challenges filed last week, Niagara Falls Democratic Chairman Michael W. Rimmen sought to winnow his party's primary field of candidates for city offices by filing lengthy specific objections to the petitions of mayoral hopeful Paul E. Argy Jr. and City Council candidates Steven D. Fournier and Elliott J. White.
If the objections are upheld by Kiedrowski and Smith, the three candidates could be knocked off the ballot. Rimmen also filed a general objection to Mayor Vince Anello's Democratic petitions, as well as those of mayoral hopeful Norton J. Douglas, and has until Wednesday to supply the specifics.
A supporter of another mayoral contender, Paul A. Dyster, already has filed specifics against Anello's petition on the Independence Party line, finding enough allegedly invalid signatures to disallow the petition and leave Dyster unopposed for that minor-party line. A Dyster backer also filed his own challenges against Argy's petitions.
Fournier has a new option if he is knocked off the Democratic primary ballot by Rimmen's challenges. He was designated by the Republicans on Friday to replace Joseph Falcone on their ticket. Falcone filed papers last Monday withdrawing from the race.
Other objections filed Friday sought to disqualify 2nd District County Legislature candidate Candace J. Corsaro's Republican and minor-party petitions. They were filed by Shirley A. Hamilton, a close ally of 2nd District incumbent Renae Kimble.