The vitriol is ramping up in the waning days of the campaign for the 8th District Erie County Legislature race in Tuesday’s elections.
A week after it was revealed that the Republican candidate in the race violated rules in his job as a financial planner, the county’s GOP chairman is now charging that Democratic candidate Wynnie L. Fisher is unfit for public office after revelations of a 2004 arrest on disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges outside Fisher’s Alden Home.
Republican Party Chairman Nicholas Langworthy said evidence of sheriff’s deputies’ intervention in numerous disputes that Fisher has had with neighbors stretching back over a decade should also disqualify Fisher from holding office.
“She has a troubling record of not getting along with her neighbors and sabotaging businesses,” Langworthy said.
“She has a record, when people disagree with her, of becoming unhinged. I would have to question the capabilities of a person of that disposition and whether they are suited for public office,” he added.
Fisher responded that the charges are an attempt to distract voters from the record of her opponent, Ted B. Morton. A week ago, Democratic Party Chairman Jeremy Zellner questioned Morton’s fitness for office after it was revealed that the Financial Industry Regulatory Agency fined Morton $5,000 and suspended him from acting as a financial planner for six months after Morton acknowledged borrowing about $315,000 from seven of his clients between 2009 and 2012. Morton also was fired from his job at LPL Financial.
“Ted Morton had an issue with his employer and with the association which he worked with, but Ted Morton didn’t break the law. Wynnie Fisher did,” Langworthy said.
Fisher acknowledged her opponents’ charges that she was arrested April 7, 2004, and spent a night in the county Holding Center. According to a deputy’s complaint file, a neighbor claimed Fisher was in her front yard “screaming religious nonsense towards the whole neighborhood” before her arrest.
Fisher denied the allegations and said her arrest was based on a misunderstanding that resulted from her having been in a car accident earlier in the day and having spent hours in the emergency room at Mercy Hospital.
“I honestly don’t know why they arrested me that evening, because I was not even home at the time the neighbor said I was yelling,” Fisher said. “I think it was all a setup to break my credibility.”
Fisher said that case was dismissed and she has no record of any criminal convictions. She said many of the disputes stem from her civic activism against a neighboring business, an auto repair shop on Broadway, the proper zoning for which she had long questioned.
“In the bulk of the calls that were made to the Sheriff’s Office, I was the one that was the victim,” she added.
Zellner accused the Republicans of reverting to desperate actions at the end of an election campaign.
“It’s a desperate attempt by Nick to get some mud thrown on Ms. Fisher,” Zellner said.
“They’ve even sent out robo-calls saying she’s a criminal, and that’s not true. Meanwhile, her opponent did get fired from his job, was fined thousands of dollars and did get suspended from practicing his profession for six months. Those are facts,” he added.