Veteran Erie County Legislator and Minority Leader Thomas Loughran defeated well-financed, two-time challenger Guy Marlette to win a seventh term in the Amherst-based 5th District.
This district encompasses some of the town's most densely populated neighborhoods, including Eggertsville, Snyder and Williamsville, and is one of those that helped determine which party controls the Legislature. Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 4,000, and regained control of the Legislature by one seat.
Loughran, owner of the popular Loughran’s Bar and Restaurant in Snyder, has won re-election over and over despite being outspent by large margins. His victory this year presents a bitter disappointment to the current Republican-supported majority, which had looked to the Loughran-Marlette race as a key race to win to maintain hold of the majority it has held since 2014.
In 2015, Loughran fended off a serious challenge by Marlette, a former Amherst councilman who even aired television advertising – considered unusual in a County Legislature contest. Despite Marlette gaining the Conservative Party endorsement this year, which had previously gone to Loughran, he was unable to gain any ground.
Loughran, 66, is a former Amherst Planning Board and Town Board member who serves as the Legislature's minority leader. He listed his top accomplishments as holding the line on taxes by providing oversight of the budget, downsizing the Legislature and revitalizing Erie Community College, especially the North Campus.
Marlette, 60, of Snyder, won election to the Amherst Town Board in 2007 and 2011. He served as deputy supervisor from 2010 until 2015 and is a past president of Amherst South Rotary and Amherst Youth Foundation. He was among about 20 prominent Amherst Republicans who in late 2016 switched their party affiliation to Conservative.
He listed his top accomplishments as lowering the tax levy for six straight years as deputy supervisor, consolidating town services and reducing redundancy in top level positions to achieve cost savings.