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LaBarbera can't be taken off ballot

Embattled Niagara County Legislature candidate Robert S. LaBarbera couldn't take his name off the ballot even if he wanted to, the county's election commissioners said Thursday.
LaBarbera said county Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Rivera tried to get him out of the race on Monday, when there was still time to replace him.

"He asked me repeatedly (to drop out) on Monday, because the deadline was midnight," LaBarbera said. Rivera did not return calls seeking comment.

By state law, the deadline was Monday for a candidate to withdraw his name after filing a nominating petition, and LaBarbera didn't. A candidate can be kicked off the ballot if a challenge to the validity of his petitions is filed, but no one challenged them, and that deadline also has passed.
LaBarbera, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated, has vowed to stay in the race for 6th District legislator. He is running in a Democratic primary against incumbent Danny W. Sklarski, a registered Democrat who votes with and has been nominated by the Republicans.
Republican Commissioner Scott P. Kiedrowski said LaBarbera can't get his name off the Democratic primary ballot unless he goes to State Supreme Court and persuades a judge to allow it.
"I have a hard time thinking a judge would allow them to place somebody else on the ballot because of a self-inflicted problem," Kiedrowski said.
Democratic Commissioner Nancy L. Smith said, "Any court action regarding a petition has to be started by Aug. 2 unless a petition is invalidated after that."
Smith said the Democrats' only means of getting another candidate into the race against Sklarski would be to sponsor a candidate who could file a petition to run as an independent. The deadline to do that is Aug. 21, but such a candidate couldn't run in the Democratic primary, nor could he appear on the Democratic line in November.
Meanwhile, LaBarbera said he filed a harassment complaint with Town of Niagara police Tuesday night against Gary D. Parenti, who lost last year's 138th District Assembly primary to incumbent Francine DelMonte. LaBarbera backed DelMonte in that race.
"That was not a social call. He said he had the silver bullet to destroy me financially and politically. I could not let that sit," LaBarbera said. He accused Parenti of bearing a grudge against him from last year.
Parenti said he called LaBarbera as a Democratic committeeman. He said, "There were no threats. It's going to be very hard for him to win with a DWI within 60 days of a Democratic primary. He's going to hurt the Democratic Party. I want to see the Democratic Party succeed."

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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