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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v8n34 (08/19/2009) » Section: The News, Briefly

The Week In Review

Ralph Hernandez, who hoped to run for Erie County Legislature in the 6th District against Maria Whyte, got knocked from the Democratic primary by State Supreme Court Justice Patrick NeMoyer. The judge ruled that Hernandez did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions. Hernandez, who was elected president of the Buffalo Board of Education in July, needed 500 signatures to make the ballot. He turned in about 1,200, but nearly half of those were rejected by the Erie County Board of Elections, leaving him 623. The remaining signatures were challenged in court by Whyte supporters, who claimed that they’d been collected improperly. For example, some petition sheets were signed by Hernandez as witness, but attorney Sean Cooney presented witnesses who claimed that a woman, not Hernandez, had witnessed their signatures. Other petition sheets were allegedly left in shops and signed without a witness present. Cooney further alleged that several operatives were paid per signature they collected, in violation of state law. After hearing testimony from 24 witnesses over three days, NeMoyer tossed 182 more signatures, dropping Hernandez to 441 and knocking him off the ballot. As a result, Whyte will run unopposed this fall. This is good news for Whyte, of course, and for Democrats aligned with Assemblyman Sam Hoyt. Some supporters of Mickey Kearns’ bid for mayor, however, had hoped that a primary contest in the Niagara District would bring out votes for Kearns, on the theory that both supporters of Whyte and Hernandez are likely to be opposed to incumbent Byron Brown.

Five Questions With: Matthew Ricchiazzi, Independent Mayoral Candidate

Last Friday, Ricchiazzi filed nominating petitions totaling more than 2,100 signatures with the Erie County Board of Elections, officially entering the race for mayor of Buffalo as an independent. Ricchiazzi is 23 and a registered Republican, running for mayor in a city whose voters are overwhelmingly old, prudish, and Democratic. But he brings to the race a keen mind—he’s a graduate of Cornell, where he’s working on his MBA—and some sharp ideas. You can read his platform at

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