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Democratic ticket includes 2 newcomers

One of two incumbent City Council Democrats will not be able to seek re-election this year as voters put two newcomers and the current Council leader on the Democratic ticket in the upcoming general election.

Sam Fruscione, current Chairman Charles Walker and Chris Robins will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Council Member Glenn C. Choolokian came in fifth in a field of six candidates for the primary, and said he will not continue his re-election campaign.

Choolokian, a city sewer worker, said he believes low voter turnout hurt him.

Voters could choose three of the six candidates Tuesday, and most garnered between 1,000 and 2,000 votes. There are 17,216 registered Democrats in the city, but the Board of Elections has not yet tabulated how many voted.

"It's disappointing that it's the same old thing in Niagara Falls," Choolokian said this week. "The regular people don't go out and vote."

Choolokian is serving a one-year term on the Council vacated by Mayor Vince Anello.

Newcomer Fruscione was the top vote-getter Tuesday. The 39-year-old fifth-grade teacher at Harry F. Abate Elementary School said he believes residents want to see change in the city's elected leadership, but admitted he was surprised by the outcome.

"I didn't have a clue. I'm humbled," he said. "I've always lost things in my life."

Fruscione said hard work had a lot to do with his success as he had knocked on 2,000 doors leading up to the primary.

A candidate with a similar background, Chris Robins, wasn't far behind, coming in third in Tuesday's voting.

Robins, 34, also a teacher who had never run for office, said he has some local political background. He worked on campaigns of past Council candidates, such as Anthony Quaranto, while he was in his 20s.

Chairman Charles Walker, who is serving his second term on the Council, earned a spot on the ballot with the second highest number of votes.

The three candidates will now gear up for the general election in which they face two Republicans, current Councilwoman Candra Thomason and Cyndi Stonebraker, in the race to fill three four-year terms on the five-member Council.

e-mail: gnorheim@buffnews.com

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