Sep. 14—Is it a sign of a Niagara Falls City Council candidate's lack of spelling prowess or a ploy to get voters to pay more attention to his candidacy weeks before the general election?
Either way, Republican Mike Gawel is drawing notice for his new campaign signs which suggest he's running for "Niagra" Falls City Council.
In an interview with the newspaper on Thursday, Gawel attributed the misspelling of the city's name on his signs to Capital Promotions, the Albany company his campaign committee hired to produce them.
"We sent the signs to them and they printed them and they were wrong," Gawel said. "The proof was right and the sign was wrong."
"I called them right away and they said, 'Sorry, we'll send some more out," and they said to throw the others away."
Gawel's camp received 500 misspelled signs in all.
He's leaving three up for the time being in front of a trio of local businesses as part of a contest he's running in an effort to turn a negative into a positive.
"Everybody makes mistakes. You've just got to correct them and move forward," he said.
On Facebook, Gawel posted a picture of himself holding one of his misspelled signs. The post encourages city residents to take their own pictures with the "Niagra" signs that are still standing in front of Casale's Tavern and Motel on Buffalo Avenue, Wilbur's on Cayuga Drive and Player's Lounge on Niagara Street. People who tag his campaign's Facebook page and the pages of the businesses with their photos will be entered into a contest to win gift certificates. Gawel said winners will be drawn during his campaign's Buffalo Bills watch party, which is being held Sunday at Wilbur's.
"Take a picture in front of one of three misspelled campaign signs and you'll be entered into a live drawing for a $50 gift certificate," Gawel said in his contest announcement. "You can take a picture in front of each sign, totaling three entries! There will be three separate winners. One per location. One prize per person total."
The misspelled signs did spark conversation among residents and voters on social media.
One poster said simply: "Oof."
Another posted a popular Facebook comment that read: "The way some of you spell around here, just get on the bus with your kids this morning."
Another said: "Well ... it got Mike Gawel free advertising (by you)and careful readers will likely discuss this sign, and Mike Gawel, with their friends. Brilliant advertising move! Lol."
Gawel denies, as some have suggested, that the printing error was intentional and part of a larger effort to draw attention to his candidacy heading into the Nov. 7 general election.
He said it was an honest mistake on the vendor's part.
So far, he said, the response from the community has been largely supportive.
"It has turned out better than I expected," he said. "People are noticing it."