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Aurora supervisor averts challenge for re-election as DiPietro pulls out

Jolene M. Jeffe did the unthinkable two years ago when she was a virtual political unknown and ended up getting elected as Aurora's first female supervisor by winning the race on two minor party lines.

Now, after thinking a few short weeks ago that she would be squaring off in her re-election bid this fall for supervisor against former three-term East Aurora Mayor David J. DiPietro, Jeffe learned that she is a shoo-in after DiPietro recently backed out.

"I don't believe I have an opponent, unless there's something I don't know about, or if there's a write-in," Jeffe said. "It certainly will allow me to focus 100 percent of my attention on the new Town Hall and other issues facing the town."

Jeffe now has the Conservative Party endorsement heading into the November election. The Aurora GOP Committee had endorsed DiPietro in June for supervisor, but DiPietro has since dropped out of the race and declined the nomination.

"The majority of the committee had decided they wanted a change," Aurora GOP Chairman Earl Jann said. But then last month, DiPietro formally declined the GOP nomination. "He had told me after the Gleed [Town Hall] vote, that he didn't want to stay in. I don't think Gleed was the total reason, but part of the reason."

DiPietro, most recently a tea party candidate for last fall's State Senate race, did not return phone calls seeking his comment. "I suspected David would pull out all along, so I wasn't particularly surprised," Jann said.

Jann said he's uncertain whether the Republican Committee will endorse anyone else for supervisor. Jeffe had been endorsed by the GOP two years ago, but she then lost the primary to then-incumbent Supervisor Dwight Krieger, yet went on to be successfully elected on two minor party lines.

The Aurora Democratic Committee didn't endorse anyone, either. "The group was tired of endorsing a Republican," said Democratic Chairwoman Mary Alice Grant. "Some didn't like Jolene and some did. Some wanted Dave and some did not."

"Neither party has been very unified for a long time," Jann said. "It's a challenge to bring about unity."

Meanwhile, the real attention-getter in the Nov. 8 election will be the Town Board race for two seats, each carrying four-year terms. Four candidates will be featured in the Sept. 13 primary on the GOP line. The Aurora GOP endorsed East Aurora Village Trustee Peter Mercurio and political newcomer Dana Foster.

Mercurio, a village trustee since 2005, and Foster, a preschool teacher and part-time pharmacy clerk, will be challenged for the GOP nod by incumbent Councilman James Bach and veteran Councilman Jeff Harris, both of whom are endorsed on the Conservative Party line.

Harris, first elected in 1999, said he considers himself a watchdog on the board. "I think I've showed my experience," he said.

Jeffe said she wants to serve a second term to be able to follow through on what her administration has started. "I've learned that two years is not a long time, and I have a good working relationship with the Town Board," she said.

Aurora Town Justice Douglas W. Marky is running unopposed for another four-year term, carrying endorsements from both major parties.