Buffalo Police Officer David A. Rivera will trade his detective sergeant's badge for a seat on the Common Council after easily winning Tuesday's race to become Niagara District representative.
Rivera, a 25-year police veteran, beat three challengers in one of only two contested Council races.
With all votes tallied, Rivera received 2,327 votes -- or 61 percent. His next closest competitor was Peter Savage III, a city attorney who ran on the Conservative line after losing a close contest to Rivera in September for the Democratic endorsement. Following the primary defeat, Savage did not wage an active campaign in the general election.
Savage received 707 votes, or 19 percent.
Sergio R. Rodriguez, who ran on the Republican and Taxpayers First lines, had 501 votes, while Green Party candidate Eric M. Jones received 308 votes.
Two Council factions have been courting Rivera in recent weeks. One group is closely allied with Mayor Byron W. Brown, while the other has flaunted its independence from the administration. Rivera could play a key role in deciding who lawmakers will name as Council president, majority leader and other influential posts in January.
Rivera said he has not made any commitments, but he hopes to help forge a consensus that will avoid "factionalism" on the Council. Rivera confirmed that he recently met with Brown, who had backed Savage in the Democratic primary.
"You obviously have to work with the mayor and his administration," Rivera said Tuesday night. "I didn't enter this race because I have an ax to grind. The mayor knows there will be some disagreements. But for the most part, we'll work together."
Rivera said he will decide soon whether to retire from the Police Department or take a leave of absence. He will succeed Niagara Council Member Dominic J. Bonifacio, who opted not to seek re-election. Bonifacio has served eight years on the Council and has been majority leader for the past two years.
Only one other Council district had a contested race Tuesday.
Ellicott representative Brian C. Davis easily defeated Buffalo firefighter Byron J. McIntyre. Davis, who had the Democratic and Independence lines, received 2,856 votes, or 89 percent of the tally. McIntyre, who ran on the Conservative line, received 366 votes.