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Democrat Susan Y. Peimer said Monday that she would not seek an appointment to the Amherst Town Board when a seat opens in January.

"At this time, I'm not interested," said Mrs. Peimer, who ran unsuccessful campaigns for the Assembly in 1996 and this year.

She declined to discuss her reasons.

Her decision comes as a setback for many Amherst Democrats who had considered her the leading choice to join the Town Board. Earlier this month, Mrs. Peimer lost an Assembly race to Amherst Councilman James P. Hayes. Hayes, a Republican, will vacate his Town Board seat at year's end as he takes the 142nd Assembly seat, representing Amherst and Buffalo's University Heights neighborhood.

In January, the six remaining Town Board members -- four Democrats and two Republicans -- will vote to replace Hayes. Their appointee will serve during 1999, but would have to run in November 1999 to retain the seat.

Democrats looked to Mrs. Peimer to accept the appointment because her campaign organization and name recognition after two townwide races would give her an advantage over Republican rivals next year.

"I would like to see her on the list," said Dennis E. Ward, chairman of the Amherst Democratic Committee. "But if someone doesn't have the energy or interest -- and I can certainly understand her wanting to take some time off after her campaign this fall -- there's certainly more than enough other qualified candidates."

Mrs. Peimer's decision leaves Democrats Daniel A. Longo and Dr. Todd E. Shatkin, currently serving on the Amherst Zoning Board and Planning Board, respectively, as the other leading candidates to fill Hayes' seat next year.

"She probably would have been a favorite," Ward said of Mrs. Peimer's chance of winning the appointment. "If she's out of it, it shifts to the other two guys."

Mary E. Lowther, who served as a Williamsville trustee from 1991 to 1995, has told the Town Board members she'd like to be considered as a replacement for Hayes during 1999. However, she said she would not seek to keep the Town Board seat beyond next year.

"I don't think that is what we would be interested in," Ward said.

Ward said he would like the appointed Democrat to run for the Town Board in the 1999 general election. Both Longo and Shatkin have said they would do so.

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