At least two of the three candidates knocked off the ballot for Tuesday’s Buffalo School Board election are waging write-in campaigns.
The third is deciding whether it’s still worth giving it a try amid all the turmoil surrounding this year’s contentious elections for the six district seats on the nine-member board.
The most vigorous write-in campaign is likely to come from board President James M. Sampson, who didn’t have enough valid signatures to make the ballot in his West District. He challenged the ruling by the Erie County Board of Elections in court Wednesday, but fell short.
“I knew it was going to be a long shot overturning the Board of Elections,” Sampson said Thursday. “We’ve organized a write-in campaign.”
Aside from blitzing households in his district with phone calls, Sampson will be sending out a last-minute mailer asking voters to write-in his name at the polls. His campaign also is organizing a group to knock on doors.
He also said the Buffalo Niagara Partnership – which has provided funding to his campaign – sent out a letter encouraging people to write Sampson’s name on the ballot.
East District candidate Patricia A. Elliott was knocked off the ballot last week for not having enough valid signatures, but she said she will press on with a write-in campaign, as well. “If I have to go down, it’s not going to be without a fight,” she said.
Colleen E. Russell – who also was a candidate in the East District before a court challenge knocked her off the ballot Monday – was still deciding Thursday whether she wanted to pursue a write-in campaign.
The first-time candidate has been waylaid by the election process as factions have aggressively weighed in this year to upset the control and makeup of the board. For Russell, the election has generated prank phone calls to her home and an intimidating encounter with someone pounding on her door to serve a subpoena.
“I’m a little discouraged, but I’m still trying to weigh my options,” Russell said Thursday.
Tuesday’s ballots in the districts look like this:
• Central – Paulette Woods and Bryon J. McIntyre.
• East – Theresa A. Harris-Tigg.
• Ferry – Sharon M. Belton-Cottman.
• North – Jason M. McCarthy and Hope R. Jay.
• Park – Carl P. Paladino and Austin Harig.
• West – Jennifer L. Mecozzi.