Niagara Falls Republican Committee endorses Sen. Maziarz's opponent
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NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. --- When Johnny Destino ran for Niagara Falls mayor last fall he initially did it with the support of George Maziarz.
"When they didn't want to be associated with what they thought was a losing proposition they bailed on me," said 62nd Senate District Candidate Johnny Destino. "It's become evident since that time that there are different factions of the Republican Party in Niagara County."
Now Destino is running against Maziarz in a primary for state Senate and has been endorsed by one of those factions.
"The voters right now, if you go out there and you start knocking on doors, they're going to tell you the same thing over and over and over again. It's time for a change," said Robert Krause, chair of the Niagara Falls Republican Committee.
The Niagara Falls Republican Committee is defying the county committee which has already endorsed Maziarz. The city became a part of the 62nd district this year when new lines were drawn.
"I've been working a lot in the City of Niagara Falls," said State Senator George Maziarz. "We've collected a whole lot of signature there. More than my opponent in the City of Niagara Falls and again when the entire committee met I had their overwhelming support."
The Niagara County Republican Party noted that members from Niagara Falls are part of the committee that voted for Maziarz 127 to six in May.
"Yes George does have people in our committee who are not in favor of this endorsement, but right now, if you did a straw poll, Johnny would come out ahead," Krause said.
The Niagara Falls Republicans say members of the county committee with dissenting opinions or votes are bullied.
"It's supposed to be a fair and equitable process," said Executive Committee Member Candra Thomason. "It's supposed to be a choice. But nobody was given that choice. Nobody was given an opportunity. Johnny wasn't there. Johnny wasn't given an opportunity to speak."
Maziarz says the four members of the Niagara Falls Executive Committee are free to do what they want.
"I think endorsements are great to have but it's really the endorsement of the people that go to the polls that really count," Maziarz said.
The primary election is September 13th.