JAMESTOWN – The Republican candidate for mayor of Jamestown says he’s surprised his primary opponent has decided to run as a Libertarian candidate, but adds he doesn’t think it will split the Republican vote in the Democratic candidate’s favor.
Republican David Wilfong defeated Andrew Liuzzo in the June Primary for the Republican line on the mayoral ballot. Last Tuesday, Liuzzo announced he would accept the Libertarian Party endorsement as a candidate for mayor, making the November race for the open seat of mayor of Jamestown an three-way race, with Democrat Eddie Sundquist the third individual seeking the office.
Wilfong admits that he was surprised to learn Liuzzo will still be running, considering he had initially pledged to not seek nor accept any other party endorsement in the 2019 election for mayor.
“I could have sworn that I heard somewhere that he wasn’t going to search for another line [on the ballot] and if he did not win he was not going to go on another line. So I was kind of shocked about that, but he has the right to [go with another party], I understand that,” Willfong told WRFA this week. “Now it’s going to be a three-way race – between myself, Eddie and Andy – and it should be more exciting now than ever.”
Liuzzo had made his pledge to not run as a third party candidate in May, making the statement on social media. However, last week he said he changed his mind because he felt the citizens of Jamestown deserved another option in November.
Despite both Wilfong and Liuzzo being registered Republicans, Wilfong said he doesn’t feel Liuzzo’s running will decrease his chances of winning.
“As far as taking votes, I think Andy will take votes from both sides. This is going to offer an opportunity for everyone in the city of Jamestown, not just the Republicans, everyone in the city will vote for the candidate they want to. I’m sure that Andy has Democratic friends and he’ll pick up those votes. I myself happen to be a county legislator in District 11 and I’ve known Democratic people who’ve voted for myself too. And then I’m sure you’re going to have crossover with Eddie, too. I’m sure Eddie has Republican friends and Republican backers. So as far as splitting the vote, I don’t know if that actually will happen.”
Wilfong has served as a member of the Chautauqua County Legislature since January 2014. He’s also the current chair of the Chautauqua County Republican Committee. Liuzzo has served on the Jamestown City Council since January 2018. Sundquist, a local attorney, has not held political office. He did make an unsuccessful run for congress last year, losing in the Democratic Primary.
The three are vying to replace current Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, who is in the final year of his fifth term in office and who announced earlier this year he would not be seeking a sixth consecutive term.