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GOP BACKS DEMOCRAT ANDERSON FOR MAYOR

Blasdell Republicans have endorsed Trustee Kathleen Cole Anderson, a Democrat, for mayor.

The endorsement sets up what is already turning into a contentious race between Ms. Cole, a trustee for the past four years, and incumbent Mayor Ernest J. Jewett, a former trustee who has been mayor for four years.

The GOP also endorsed Robert Palmer Jr. and Lynn Sloan Steger, the wife of village Republican Chairman William Steger, for trustee positions at Monday night's caucus.

"It is unusual," Steger said of the GOP endorsement of a Democrat for mayor.

He said he could not remember when the GOP may have endorsed a Democrat before for the top spot.

"I think we've known her a real long time. A good portion of her family is Republican, although she is a Democrat," Steger said.

Steger said party members looked at other possible candidates, and decided Ms. Anderson had the best chance of winning.

"We wanted to beat Ernie. We wanted to make sure we could beat Ernie. We feel Kathy can. Everything just kind of fit," he said.

"This endorsement marks a new beginning of bipartisanship in the village, where village leaders will put aside their party differences for the betterment of all of Blasdell," Ms. Anderson said.

Ms. Anderson is the daughter of Thomas Cole, who has been charged with possession of stolen property for allegedly receiving a load of village-owned crushed stone last September. The incident came to light this month when a village employee said his department head told him to deliver two tons of the stone to Cole's house.

Blasdell Sewage Treatment Plant Chief Operator Robert Pieczonka was charged with petit larceny and has been suspended over the incident. "It is unfortunate that last week my family and I were targeted by my opponent with a mean-spirited personal attack," Ms. Anderson said in a news release. "My father's innocence will be vindicated in a court of law, however my opponent is guilty of dirty politics."

She said that while the incident is alleged to have occurred in September, Jewett "deliberately delayed disclosing this matter until the eve of the endorsement process." Ms. Anderson first sought the Democratic endorsement for mayor, but it went to Jewett.

"The timing of this investigation is nothing short of political extortion. I truly hope that this does not signal the beginning of a dirty, negative campaign by my opponent," she said.

Ms. Anderson said her campaign for mayor will be about issues such as lowering property taxes and improving the quality of life for Blasdell's children and families.

Jewett declined to comment.

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