Tonawanda News

August 16, 2013

Boyle's Working Families petition rejected

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Current Second Ward Councilman Blake Boyle’s petition for the Working Families endorsement was rejected due to insufficient signatures, Erie County Board of Elections Commissioner Ralph M. Mohr confirmed.

The rejection came after Boyle’s challenger, Jackie Smilinich, objected the endorsement with the Board of Elections. Two valid signatures are required, but upon examination, the board found that three of four of the signatures from residents on his petition were invalid.  

One signature was deemed invalid due to the person not being registered at the address set forth in the petition. The other two signatures were invalid because the people had signed other petitions for office on the same or an earlier date, the board’s report states. 

Boyle, who has served on the council for 12 years, took issue with the rejection, and argued that the signature from the resident who has since moved away should count, as the person has not yet voted anywhere else. 

Boyle lost the City of Tonawanda Democratic endorsement to Smilinich after interviews in May, but said he plans to challenge her in a Democratic primary set for Sept. 10. Boyle has run and served as a Republican in the past and he has been a registered Democrat for his past two terms on the council. 

The race so far has been contentious, with Boyle making accusations singling out the local Democratic party for dumping him for Smilinich.

Boyle has said he will support a Republican candidate for the Second Ward seat if he loses to Smilinich in the primary. Jon Juliano, a political newcomer, has won the Republican endorsement. 

Juliano, who works for an accounts receivable company, has argued for change on the council, while Smilinich and Boyle have pointed to their respective experience on the school board and council. 

“I believe some of our current council members don’t share those far-reaching views ... we have a lot of stale ideas, and we need someone new and fresh to bring families and businesses back to Tonawanda,” Juliano said. 

The other city elections have also been set. In the First Ward, Democratic newcomer Paul Brunner will face off Republican endorsee Charles Gilbert, who is a one-term councilman.

In the Third Ward, former city employee John Hall has been endorsed by the Republican party and will run against Democratic incumbent Richard Slisz, who won the last election by just one vote.

In the Fourth Ward, two newcomers — Democrat Jenna Koch and Republican Brian Jopp — will run for the seat. 

Democrat Rick Davis will also challenge incumbent Ron Pilozzi for the position of mayor. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley