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The Amherst Conservative Party, gathering for a long-delayed organizational meeting, elected Jeffrey N. Kobus as its new chairman and John Foran as vice chairman.

Kobus, an Amherst Highway Department heavy equipment operator and former president of the highway workers union, defeated former Chairman Robert Simmons on Thursday in balloting in the Harlem Road Community Center.

"The vote was overwhelming to replace the leadership. The committee wants to reform and rebuild," Kobus said Tuesday. The reorganization, which normally would have been held last fall, was delayed by internal problems, party sources said.

Kobus said he expects to meet with his committee next month to decide on endorsements of candidates for the September primary.

"There have been no promises (of support) made to anybody. The democratic process should prevail," he said.

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