LEWISTON – Supervisor Steven L. Reiter said Friday he will decide this weekend if he wants to continue a re-election bid.
“It depends on how I feel,” said Reiter, 59, who underwent quadruple-bypass surgery July 5 in Buffalo General Hospital.
He got out of a sickbed to gather and deliver nominating petition signatures to the Niagara County Board of Elections about 10 minutes before Thursday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
“I’ve been busy the last 24 hours,” Reiter said then. A couple of family members gathered many of the signatures.
Like any other candidate who files nominating petitions, Reiter has until 5 p.m. Monday to change his mind by signing a document declining to run.
Reiter’s health and the controversy over an FBI investigation of his use of town equipment to assist the Seneca Nation’s Hickory Stick Golf Course have thrown the supervisor race into a tizzy.
If Reiter stays in, he will face a Republican primary against Councilman Ernest C. Palmer. There are two candidates entered in the Democratic primary: Village of Lewiston Trustee Dennis J. Brochey Sr. and Town Finance Director Michael A. Johnson.
Brochey was endorsed more than a month ago by the Democrats, while Palmer and Johnson both said they threw their campaigns together since learning of Reiter’s heart problems in the middle of last week.
County GOP Chairman Scott P. Kiedrowski said he approached Palmer to run. “There was a great deal of uncertainty as to Steve’s health,” Kiedrowski said. “My job was to do what I think is in the best interests of the party and the voters of Lewiston.”
Palmer, the former Niagara Falls and Youngstown police chief who joined the Town Board in 2006, said town GOP leaders told him Reiter wasn’t going to run, so he lined up support from the other councilmen and the GOP committee.
“I couldn’t wait any longer for a decision on it,” Palmer said. He wasn’t sure what he would have done had he known Reiter would run, but now that he’s in, Palmer said he won’t drop out.
Palmer said of Reiter, “He’s been a good friend for a lot of years. I wish him the best and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Johnson, who served on the Town Board from 1996 to 2010 and has been finance director since then, said Reiter’s illness pushed him into the race.
Brochey, 61, who was elected to the Village Board in March 2012, had run an auto repair business in Lewiston for 40 years before selling it a month ago.