Restaino claims victory in Democratic primary for Falls mayor

Mayoral hopeful Seth Piccirillo checks the board during Tuesday’s Democratic primary election for mayor. 

Despite rumors to the contrary, Seth Piccirillo insists he has not made a decision on whether to remain in the race for Falls mayor.

The runner-up to Robert Restaino in the June Democratic Party primary, Piccirillo is on the November general election ballot as the endorsed Working Families Party candidate for mayor.

Though Piccirillo was leading the vote count in the Green Party mayoral primary race on election night, final vote totals from the Niagara County Board of Elections showed Restaino wresting that line away by a 10-vote margin, 17 to 7, with six blank ballots out of 30 cast.

Former city council member and mayoral candidate Glenn Choolokian will have the Republican Party ballot line in the general election.

In the immediate aftermath of his Democratic primary loss, Piccirillo said he still valued the Working Families Party line.

“We’re on the (November general election) ballot. We’re excited to be on the ballot,” Piccirillo said then. “We’re going to take a couple of weeks and decide what our next steps are for the general election. We’re not in a hurry to make a decision.”

But sources with knowledge of the Piccirillo campaign have said recently that the city’s director of Community Development had made his decision.

“No, I’m still mulling that decision,” Piccirillo told the Gazette this week. “I have not made my decision.”

What has apparently tempted Piccirillo to stay in the mayor’s race on the Working Families line is the closeness of his Democratic Party primary loss. Restaino, a political veteran, with high name recognition, won the Democratic line by just 129 votes out of 3,453 votes cast.

“We lost by a little over 100 votes,” he said. “There is no mandate that comes out of this (primary) election.”

Turnout in the primary was low, just 23 percent of eligible Democratic voters went to the polls. The turnout in the general election is expected to be much higher.

Restaino has expressed hope that Piccirillo would drop out of the race in a show of Democratic Party unity. But he may have to wait a little longer to find out.

“I’m still clarifying things with my family,” Piccirillo said. “We’ll make a decision in the next week or so.”