The 5 p.m. deadline for filing nominating petitions for this year's elections passed Thursday with no word from Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello.
Although some foes were whispering that Anello had failed to muster the 791 signatures needed to qualify for the Democratic primary ballot, Anello said by telephone that is untrue. He said his petitions were mailed to the Niagara County Board of Elections on Thursday. They would be valid if postmarked Thursday.
"I am busy being mayor. People need to understand that," Anello said.
His rivals all filed in person. Councilman Lewis Rotella, the endorsed Democratic candidate, handed in 1,853 signatures Monday. Thursday, former Councilman Paul A. Dyster, another Democrat, submitted 1,434 names, and Paul E. Argy Jr., a late-starting Democratic candidate who owns a heating and air-conditioning business, handed in 873 signatures.
On the Republican side, former Councilwoman Candra C. Thomason submitted 453 signatures; 291 were needed to qualify for the GOP ballot.
Rotella raised more money than his rivals and also outspent them during the first six months of the year, according to campaign financial-disclosure reports filed this week.
Rotella, who started the year with no leftover campaign money, reported raising $29,387 and spending $21,319.
Dyster reported raising $23,090 during the same time period and spending $9,668.
Anello reported raising $7,628 during the last six months, in addition to $7,156 he had at the beginning of the year. Anello reported spending $8,401 on his campaign during the last six months.
Thomason reported bringing in $3,542 and spending $3,266 since Jan. 15.
The Board of Elections has received Independence Party nominating petitions from Thomason and Dyster, although Anello was that party's endorsed candidate. Dyster and Thomason also have filed Conservative Party petitions, and Dyster also filed for the Working Families line.
The Niagara Falls City Council primary will be a cavalry charge, with five men battling for two spots. Incumbent Robert A. Anderson Jr., Steven D. Fournier, Walter F. Kendzia, Nicholas Ligammari and Elliott J. White all have entered the race. Republican contenders are Cristina Ventry and Joseph J. Falcone.
There are three contenders for city judge: Democrat Robert P. Merino and Republicans Maria A. Massaro and Matthew T. Weber. They will compete in multiple primaries.
In Lockport, Republican Mayor Michael W. Tucker filed 435 signatures on his GOP petitions -- only 225 were needed -- and also filed for all three minor parties. Democratic challenger Michael J. Pillot filed 391 signatures, easily topping the Democratic threshold of 219. Neither man has filed financial-disclosure forms on the state Board of Elections Web site.
No challengers filed to run against County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow, a Lockport Republican; District Attorney Matthew J. Murphy III, a Lockport Democrat running for county judge; and Michael J. Violante, a Niagara Falls Republican running for district attorney.
The only contest for countywide office will match Family Court Judge John F. Batt, a Lockport Republican, against Linda M. DiPasquale, a Wheatfield Democrat, with primaries on multiple party lines.
The only county legislators without opponents are Kyle R. Andrews, D-Wilson, and Michael A. Hill, R-Hartland. There will be contests in the 17 other districts, including Democratic primaries in five districts and GOP primaries in three.
Incumbent Jason J. Murgia of Niagara Falls' 1st District faces primaries in both major parties. Murgia, a registered Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, is being challenged by Jerauld A. Genova on the Democratic side and Richard A. Marasco on the GOP side.
Other Democratic contests include incumbent Renae Kimble against Candace J. Corsaro in the 2nd District; Jason J. Cafarella against Mario P. Tonellato in the 3rd; incumbent Danny W. Sklarski against Robert S. LaBarbera in the 6th; and incumbent Andrea L. McNulty against Edward T. McDonald in the 9th.
GOP contests match incumbent Richard E. Updegrove against Charles F. Dahlquist in the 17th District and incumbent John Syracuse against Merrill S. Bender in the 18th.
There will be contests for two coroner seats. In District 1, Democratic incumbent James M. Joyce of Wheatfield faces County Legislator Rebecca E. Cuddahee, also a Democrat, but one who has the Republican endorsement. They will have Democratic and minor-party primaries.
In District 4, incumbent Republican Russell Jackman II of Wilson faces Bergholz funeral director Robert W. DuBois, a Democrat.
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