Democrats Samuel Fruscione, Chris Robins and Charles Walker clinched three seats on the Niagara Falls City Council in a race Tuesday that ousted the council’s only Republican.

According to unofficial results from the Board of Elections, Fruscione received 29 percent of the ballots cast and led the four-way race with 5,711 votes. Second-place winner Robins took 5,591 votes, while Walker, an incumbent council chairman, won 5,370.

Councilwoman Candra Thomason, a Republican who is finishing up her first term on the five-member council, drew 2,868 votes — little more than half the number of votes as Fruscione.

Fruscione and Robins, both local teachers, will be new additions to the council in January.

Walker attributed the wide margin between the Democratic candidates and Thomason to strong party support in the city. Nearly two-thirds of the city’s registered voters are Democrats.

“It’s probably a lot of Democratic support,” said Walker, who actively campaigned with Fruscione and Robins. “The three of us came together.”

Thomason’s defeat will mean the five-member council will be entirely Democratic next year. However, council members don’t always vote along party lines.

Councilman Glenn Choolokian, a Democrat who filled an un-expired term last year, lost in the September primary.

“I just feel sorry for the city,” Thomason said after learning of the results. “The whole thing is going to go downhill from here.”

Thomason and Choolokian have both been outspoken members of the council who have aired concerns about proposals brought by Mayor Vince Anello.

Thomason said she felt she was the brunt of active campaigning by Anello and other politically active city officials. Anello, as well as at least two city employees, attended a campaign event with the three Democrats Monday night.

Thomason has often opposed Anello on city issues in her four years on the council and had voted against many of the initiatives he proposed.

“You can pretty much give up on anybody else trying to get into government with this kind of thing happening,” Thomason said. “It just won’t happen.”

Fruscione, a Harry F. Abate Elementary School teacher, said his three-man campaign staff helped draw strong support from the city’s black community, the LaSalle area and the neighborhoods around Hyde Park and Pine Avenues.

Robins said he thought the party’s chairman, Mickey Rimmen, had brought the Democratic Party together for the win.

“We all had our own areas where we were strong,” said Robins, a teacher at Gaskill Middle School. “I think a lot of people in the city want to see people that are willing to work together.”

The two newly elected councilmen will jump into helping to oversee one of the biggest public projects in the last few decades for the Falls. Likely the most pressing issue facing the City Council next year will be the construction of a new public safety complex.

“We’ve got some major projects on the table — the courthouse being one,” Walker said. “We need to make sure it gets done. One thing I hear from a lot of people is they would like to see me be more aggressive, and maybe the time is now to really try to make that move and really get things done.”

Contact staff writer Denise Jewellat (716) 282-2311, Ext. 2245.A subhead here as an extension of the main headline ...

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