While the local media have brushed up against the new alliance beteween Ed Shoemaker, the Lockport Attorney and a GOP powerhorse "way back in the day", and County Dem Boss Dan Rivera, I don't think they have covered how deep this relationship goes. The reason for this unholy alliance is their distaste for GOP Boss Henry Wojtaszek.
Let's take a look at some of the interesting races in Niagara County:
1) Somerset: Town Supervisor Rich Meyers won on a reform platform last year by attacking the legal billings of Ed Shoemaker, who is town attorney. Shoemaker has made hundreds of thousands of dollars off this small rural town, and yet won't release copies of his billings. Meyers beat Shoemaker's candidate, John Sweeney, in the GOP primary last year. The town board was still controlled by Ed. Now, this year there is a brouhahah between the pro and anti Shoemaker forces in the GOP primary for all town offices including a Meyers/Sweeney rematch. The new wrinkle? The pro-Shoemaker forces are also the ENDORSED DEMOCRAT candidates in the election.
2) Lockport: Majority Leader Rick Updegrove is facing a GOP primary from Charles Dahlquist. According to Shoemaker, he hooked Dahlquist up with county Democratic Chairman Daniel Rivera because he knew the Democrats needed someone to take on Updegrove. Dalquist is Shoemaker's mechanic. Dalquist will also be the Dem candidate.
3) Cambria: Wright Ellis, the long-time GOP Supervisor, is now on the outs with Republicans who have backed former GOP Legislator Shirly Urtel. The reason for the split according to the Gazette: "Ellis, who is chairman of the Niagara County Sewer District, may be at odds with his party in a matter pitting towns against the county. The sewer district last year approved a payment to attorney Robert Roberson, but legislators in the GOP-controlled body denied the claim." Wojtaszek claimed Roberson already had been paid by the district and was attempting to charge twice for the same work.
“I don’t think (Ellis) handled the sewer district well,” Wojtaszek said Tuesday. “He’s cost the Town of Cambria money for letting Roberson double charge them.” BUT THE MISSING FACT IN THIS STORY? ROBERSON IS SHOEMAKER'S LAW PARTNER!!!
So, while Wright will face Shirley in the GOP Primary, Wright will also be the Dem candidate in the Fall election.
4) Newfane: Merrill Bender, a self-proclaimed taxpayer watchdog who has his own tax/bankruptcy problems and is best known for making inaccurate statements at Legislative meetings, was recruited by Shoemaker to run a GOP primary for Legislature against John Syracuse. And you know the punchline....Bender is also the Dem candidate in November.
So there you have it. One can't blame Rivera for looking for alliances to win races, after all Wojtaszek and the GOP perfected this game of cross-over endorsements.
But getting in bed with Shoemaker? Politics does make strange bedfellows, indeed.