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City Dems shun Williams; primary likely

Three-time Dunkirk Councilman Donald Williams Jr. did not receive the city party endorsement.

Dunkirk city Democrats have decided to go a different direction when it comes to the First Ward council seat that will likely lead to a primary.

Incumbent Councilman Don Williams Jr. expressed disappointment over a party “power struggle” after Natalie Luczkowiak won the party’s backing. “I guess the mayor and the party leader decided that they didn’t like me asking questions, that made the mayor uncomfortable, so they found somebody else to endorse,” Williams told the OBSERVER on Thursday. “My feelings are that I’ve served the residents of the city of Dunkirk and done what they’ve asked me to do and I’m going to be circulating petitions to be in the primary and we’ll let all the registered Democratic voters in the city decide who’s actually going to get the line for the general election.”

All council members are up for election this year in November.

Williams made it clear in the conversation that he harbors no ill feelings against Luczkowiak. He even wished her luck, noting “if the city Democratic voters decide to put her in, I can live with that.

“I just know that internally through the committee that it’s more of a power struggle,” Williams said. “I feel like I’m running against the mayor (Wilfred Rosas), Ned Divine (Democratic Chair for Dunkirk) and Norm Green (Democratic Chair for Chautauqua County), not Natlie because if I’d have done what they said then they probably would have endorsed me.”

Williams said that had he “fallen in line with the mayor” he’d have been in a different position.

“I wasn’t elected to serve the mayor … I was elected to serve the residents of the city of Dunkirk and I feel that’s what I’ve done.”

According to Divine, city party chair, the committee held a secret ballot Monday, which was just a private vote without public scrutiny via Zoom and let the Democratic process decide the winner.

“We had a special vote on Monday night and we voted on all of the uncontested races and then the one contested race, which was the First Ward Council race, we had a secret paper ballot,” he said. “We didn’t want to do it via Zoom. I wanted everyone to feel they were voting without the public watching.”

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