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Touma, Walker, Grandinetti win Democratic primary for Falls City Council

Updated Sept. 11, 2013 - 12:28 a.m.

Newcomer Andrew Touma was the top vote getter, with incumbents Charles Walker and Kristen Grandinetti also picking up the Democratic line in November's general election in Tuesday's primary.

Incumbent Sam Fruscione came in fourth, and blamed his loss, in part, on racism against Italian Americans in Niagara Falls.

In his concession speech, Fruscione blamed "the games and antics of many media sources toward the Italian-American community."

"They treated me like it was 1951 in Niagara Falls," Fruscione said, saying the media played a negative role.

Listen to Fruscione's speech:

Fruscione then walked away, leaving campaign manager Ron Cunningham to answer questions from reporters. Here's what he had to say:

"You paint a silly picture of somebody, people tend to believe it," Fruscione said a short time later outside his campaign headquarters on Pine Avenue.

Here's the anonymous political mailer that Fruscione said he had the biggest problem with:

Anonymous mailer attacking Sam Fruscione, known as Niagara Examiner

The final unofficial numbers from the Niagara County Board of Elections: Touma - 2,171; Walker - 1,994; Grandinetti - 1,721; Fruscione - 1,338. There were 290 absentee ballots issued to Falls Democrats.

Here's the story that I filed for the print edition:

At a gathering of city Democrats at the Four Points by Sheraton on Buffalo Avenue, Touma said his goal was to get in the top three on Tuesday.

"I'm humbled by the fact that the residents of Niagara Falls, a city that I care about and truly love, thought enough of me to vote for me and the fact that I would finish first is just an amazing experience," Touma said. "And I'm not going to let anybody down. I'm not going to let 'em down and I'm going to work hard for them."

Walker said he's a Council member who votes on the issues, not on personality, and he said it meant a lot to get the second-most votes on Tuesday.

"It pretty much says to me that the Democrats of this city recognize that the voting record I have, they respect it, and they chose to move me forward," Walker said.

Grandinetti said she is proud to live in a community where people paid attention.

"We trusted them with the truth and they made a choice," she said.


Andrew Touma | Charles Walker | City Council | city government | elections | Kristen Grandinetti | Sam Fruscione
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Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker joined The Buffalo News in 2007, where he has covered communities in Western New York as a beat reporter, multimedia journalist and assistant online editor. A Buffalo native, he began his career in journalism at the Niagara Gazette.

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