Niagara Gazette — The hotly contested and at times controversial Democratic primary for Niagara Falls City Council ended with incumbent Sam Fruscione as the odd man out on Tuesday.
Unofficial results from the Niagara County Board of Elections showed Fruscione finishing last in the four-candidate race for three open Democratic lines on the November general election ballot. First-time candidate and Falls teacher Andy Touma was the top vote getter. He was followed by incumbent lawmakers Charles Walker and Kristen Grandinetti, who finished second and third, respectively. The three winners will move on to face three Republican candidates for three open council seats this fall.
Touma, who gained support in the community through extensive door-to-door campaigning, celebrated his first political victory with supporters in the ballroom of the Four Points Sheraton on Buffalo Avenue. An overjoyed Touma said his campaign was effective because he took the time to listen to people as he visited them at their homes and spoke with them on the phone.
“My team recognized, they feel that going door-to door and talking to folks was the way to go,” Touma said. “It was the way to approach people and really get to the heart of the matter and find out exactly what people are feeling.”
Touma, the exhaustion from the campaign showing on his face, said whenever he felt tired encouraging words from citizens would help him keep going.
“I just kept going for the people knowing that they were there for me and they believed in me,” Touma said.
After pausing for a few moments to thank supporters inside his Pine Avenue campaign headquarters, Fruscione credited his defeat to tactics employed by his opponents in the local Democratic Party, including Mayor Paul Dyster, and what he described as “character assassination” and “games and tactics that occurred from many media sources toward the Italian American community” during the campaign.