Amherst voters threw their support behind two political newcomers and one current Erie County legislator for three vacant seats on the Town Board Tuesday.
The voters backed no single platform or single political party, and it is likely to be some time before anyone knows how the election of Republican Legislator Barry Weinstein, Republican businessman Guy Marlette and Democratic union leader Mark Manna will change the nature of politics in Amherst.
It is possible the balance of power may not be much different than it is now. Democrats, though still in a minority, frequently win the support of Republican swing votes on key issues.
Meanwhile, it appears heavily endorsed incumbent Highway Superintendent Robert Anderson barely edged out opponent Kathy Kaminski, leading by only 300 votes out of 30,000 cast and with one election district unreported at press time.
Incumbent Town Clerk Susan K. Jaros, however, coasted to victory Tuesday night over opponent Jeffrey Marion.
In the Town Board race, the overwhelming defeat of longtime Republican incumbent William Kindel suggests voters are ready for a change in direction, with less political bickering by its elected leaders.
While Kindel was a vocal critic of Supervisor Satish B. Mohan, the election did not result in a clear vote of support for the supervisor's agenda.
Weinstein, a declared Mohan supporter and a physician with strong name recognition in Amherst, garnered the most votes -- 21 percent, with 91 percent of the precincts reporting -- of any of the seven candidates running for three seats on the Town Board.
Weinstein has served as a county legislator since 1997 and is a physician in private practice. He said he believes he can make more of a difference as a Town Board member than as a member of the County Legislature's minority.
But Mohan's deputy supervisor, Roy Wixson, came in fourth place, behind Mark Manna, a registered Republican who will turn Democrat in January, when he officially takes office.
Manna, favored by the majority of Democratic voters, is a union administrator with United Food and Commercial Workers. He received 17 percent of the vote. He enjoyed strong union endorsements and has promised to work cooperatively with both Republicans and Democrats.
Marlette, vice president of Alternative Information Systems, a computer network services contractor, won his seat with 19 percent of the vote.
Failing to make the cut for the three Board seats were Wixson, Robert Foladare, Jerome Schad and Kindel.
Kindel managed only 4 percent of the vote after serving as council member for 22 years.