Niagara Gazette

Elections

November 6, 2013

Democrats Touma, Grandinetti and Walker sweep council race

Democrats Touma, Grandinetti and Walker top city council race

Niagara Gazette — A trio of endorsed Democrats who billed themselves as progressive lawmakers willing to work together for the benefit of the city swept Tuesday's race for Niagara Falls City Council. 

Incumbents Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker will be joined by newcomer Andrew Touma on the five-member council next year.

The endorsed Democrats appeared in ads together and were described by their opponents as a "new majority" that would be friendly to Mayor Paul Dyster's administration. They also picked up a pair of high-profile endorsements from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Niagara Falls and Buffalo. 

In print and in radio ads, Cuomo personally characterized the three Democrats as the "partners in progress" he needed to help his administration make good on its significant investments of state dollars in the city. Cuomo's endorsement followed months of controversy surrounding the Hamister Group's plan to build a $25 million hotel downtown. The project was stalled amid questions raised by the current council majority, including Chairman Glenn Choolokian, Robert Anderson Jr. and Sam Fruscione, who lost the Democratic primary in September. 

The current majority often found itself at odds with Dyster and his administration. During an election-night celebration with fellow Democrats at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel on Buffalo Avenue, an elated Dyster harkened back to his successful 2011 re-election campaign where he promised to push the "Fast Forward" button on progress in Niagara Falls.  

"Now everybody's going to be moving in the same direction in the city of Niagara Falls," Dyster said. 

"We've worked very hard to put this city on the verge of economic greatness again," he added. "Now the pressure is on us to deliver what we've promised to the voters."

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