By Frank Parlato, The Niagara Falls Reporter
The schism between County Democratic Chairman Nick Forster and the Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster-controlled city faction of the local Democrats, headed by City Chairwoman Alicia Liable, is evidenced in the candidacy of Johnny Destino.
The Dyster Democrats have apparently refused to carry Destino’s nominating petitions for his bid to run against George Maziarz for State Senate.
Destino ran against Dyster and almost beat him in 2011 as a Republican.
Destino has since switched parties.
The reason for the unwillingness of the Dyster Dems to carry Destino petitions may have something to do with the fact that, if Destino makes a good showing against Maziarz, but loses, he may be seen as stronger for a mayoral challenge next year against Dyster.
Sources indicate that while Destino, despite not getting help from the “Dystercrats,” should be able to get the 1000 signatures needed for the senate run. However, sources close to Destino say he is now not likely to run against Maziarz, saving his energy and resources for a possible primary run against Dyster next year.
In the 2011 Niagara Falls mayoral race, Dyster received 4,963 votes (52.28 percent) and the underfunded Destino got 4,298 (45.28 percent) as a Republican in a heavily Democratic city.
Only 665 votes (7 percent) separated the two men.
“It was much closer than many expected- including Dyster – given that I had no organizational support,” Destino said recently.
If Destino withdraws, Maziarz is unlikely to see an opponent on the Democrat side, further showing the weakness of the Democrats in Niagara County, outside of Niagara Falls.