May 4, 2011

Accardo Joins Falls Mayoral Race

With the announcement that John Accardo is throwing his hat into the ring for the mayor of Niagara Falls, the field just got a little more crowded. Accardo joins incumbent Paul Dyster, as well as recently announced candidates Jim Anthony and Carnell Burch, bringing the number of announced candidates to four. Considering that it's early May, more are sure to enter the contest.

What's interesting to note is that all four announced candidates are Democrats. That's problematic for Dyster. It's also problematic for the city's Democratic committee because it shows a non-cohesive, fractured group. While we're all for democracy and support the willingness of any individual to run for office, a party will typically coalesce behind one candidate, especially when that candidate is the incumbent, as in Dyster.

Despite the fact that Dyster continues to tout positive happenings in the city, there clearly are many people unhappy with him within his own party.  Otherwise, we wouldn't see so many intra-party candidates emerging. This scenario also creates a big problem for City Democratic Committee Chairman David Houghton. When committeemen are slated to go out and collect signatures for candidates, Lewis will be forced to deal with the fallout of a group of committeemen doing their own thing instead of uniting behind one candidate.

Frankly, this year presents a great opportunity for a member of the Republican Party to take the mayor's race. While we all know that the Democrats have a heavy enrollment advantage, that does not necessarily translate into an automatic win. That point was driven home when Francine DelMonte failed to win a single election district in Niagara Falls in her failed Assembly bid.

Nonetheless, this is shaping up to be a very interesting race. Anthony, with his strong union ties, cannot be underestimated in a primary. Burch, who's worked with the city's youth for years, has strong name recognition and a great reputation. Accardo, who previously sat on the city council, would likely be sitting in Albany right now if DelMonte had done the right thing and dropped out of the Assembly race last year after Accardo beat her in the primary. Any of them are capable of catching lightning in a bottle with a primary win. Stay tuned, this one's just getting started.

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