Two incumbent Common Council members lost their jobs Tuesday.
Eleven-year Council veteran Patrick W. Schrader, 4th Ward alderman, was turned out of office by small business owner Andrew D. Chapman, while one-term 2nd Ward Alderman Amanda Alexander was defeated by block club activist Jack Smith.
Both incumbents were caught up in hard-fought races that centered more around ward issues than the other Council contests.
Schrader was snagged at least partly by his support for property revaluation — not a popular thing in the wealthiest part of the city — and his advocacy last year for widening of Lincoln Avenue near the high school. Chapman worked hard at making Schrader’s veteran status more liability than asset.
Schrader, a Democrat, had four ballot lines to Chapman’s single Republican line in the election, including the Independence and Conservative lines, which he got with help from GOP Mayor Michael Tucker. Schrader could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Chapman succeeded in his first-ever run for a public office. His gently spoken reaction as the results came up on the Niagara County Board of Elections Web site: “Wow, how wonderful.”
The live vote count was 505, or 56 percent, for Chapman and 397, or 44 percent for Schrader. Chapman called it “close” and “humbling.”
“Growing up, you hear politi-speak and it’s like Charlie Brown: wah wah wah wah; but I’ll tell you, I met somebody (Monday) who told me she cast an absentee ballot for me,” he said. “She took my hand ... she’s trusting me to do the right thing. That is humbling. ... I earned it, now I have to prove it. I’ll do my best, that’s my promise.”
Alexander, meanwhile, was knocked out despite the fact she had three ballot lines — Republican, Independence and Conservative — to Smith’s single Democratic line. Smith campaigned aggressively on the issues of neighborhood blight, poor City Hall-resident communication and general city finances.
Smith echoed Chapman’s take on the results.
“I’m pretty excited about this — but now I’ve gotta put up,” he said. “I can’t wait for January to get to work. It looks like it’s an interesting Council. There’s a lot of diversity, and that’s a good thing.”
Kibler holds at-large seat
Four-term incumbent GOP Alderman-at-Large Joe Kibler beat back a challenge by Democrat Anita Mullane, 59 percent to 41 percent of votes cast.
“Santa Claus rides again,” he joked, before turning serious and saying he’s grateful for the show of public support.
“I was worried, because this year it seems like the public wants change. But I’m always honest and I think that counts for something,” Kibler said. “I’m sure Anita could do as good a job as I’ve done, but I think people didn’t think change would make a difference here. I’m for the public; what have I done wrong?”
Kibler likely benefited from high-profile GOP support ahead of the election, in the form of endorsement letters by Tucker and City Treasurer Michael White, as well as vote-for-Joe robocalls by state Sen. George Maziarz.
Mullane extended well wishes to Kibler, then put him on the spot.
“I wish Joe the best, and I hope he finds a way to get (curbside) recycling going. He said he’s for it, let’s see him get it done,” she said.
Pasceri re-elected in 1st Ward
One-term incumbent GOP alderman Richelle Pasceri will represent the 1st Ward for another two years. She came out ahead in a nominal contest with Democrat Bill Richardson, who never campaigned and said he got on the ballot simply to ensure Pasceri had an opponent.
Pasceri said the vote count, 305 (64 percent) for her and 173 (36 percent) for Richardson, is an eye-opener.
“It makes me realize there’s a lot more work to be done to make people happy — 173 people, at least,” she said. “I need to work harder. I’m happy to have the chance.”
McKenzie gets 3rd term in 3rd Ward
Democrat Flora McKenzie scored a decent victory over her Republican challenger, Steven Calhoun, getting 278 votes (55 percent) to Calhoun’s 226 votes (54 percent). Like Schrader, she had Mayor Tucker’s help landing the Independence and Conservative ballot lines, giving her four lines to Calhoun’s single line, in the general election.
McKenzie could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Calhoun dismissed Tucker’s support for “the Democrat” as “lousy politics” and vowed he’s not finished pushing his primary 3rd Ward issue, Outwater Park revitalization, even if the election is over.
“I have no regrets; it doesn’t end here,” he said. “There are 1,900 people in this ward. I will carry petitions, go door-to-door and tell every single resident here when there’s resistance (by city officials) to getting our park taken care of. ... I will finish my project at Outwater Park, you can bet on that. I will be on that Common Council like white on rice.”
Genewick settles newcomers’ contest in 5th Ward
Kenneth M. Genewick of Harrison Avenue will take the Council seat that’s being vacated by current 5th Ward Alderman John Lombardi III.
Genewick, who currently is chairman of the city Republican committee, blew away his Democratic opponent, Scott H. Hughes, with 72 percent of the vote. He credited victory to an ambitious campaign to knock on every door in the ward.
“I think that made the difference, and I’ve been very happy to realize everything I believe in is exactly what I heard on the door steps,” he said. “The (new) Common Council is shaping up as a good team. We’ll get together and work with the mayor to keep making progress for the city.”
Genewick said he will step down from the local GOP chairmanship before he takes office in January.
Two incumbent Common Council members lost their jobs Tuesday.
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