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Familiar names vie for Amherst town clerk post in special election

Democrats and Republicans have settled on their candidates for the special election to replace Marjory Jaeger as Amherst town clerk.

Town Republicans on Monday endorsed Jeff Zeplowitz for the race, said Amherst GOP Chair Joe Heins. Zeplowitz, 49, is a longtime state Assembly aide and executive with firms that do consulting and polling for political and business clients. His father, Barry, is the founder of a well-known polling firm and his mother, Penny, served on the Amherst Town Board.

Democrats are backing Fran Spoth, a Town Board member and the deputy supervisor, said Jerry Schad, the Amherst Democratic chairman. Spoth, 55, is a former Williamsville School Board member who has worked as a research and marketing specialist. The Spoths are well known in Amherst for their farming and produce operations.

November's contest is to fill the last year of Jaeger's term. Whoever wins will have to run again in November 2019 for a full, four-year term. The position pays $82,000 per year.

Amherst town clerk resigning to take job at UB, sparking Collins speculation

Jaeger, who has served as clerk since 2012, was barred from running for re-election after her current term ends next year. She announced late last month that she was stepping down, effective Tuesday, to accept a job at the University at Buffalo's office of Environment, Health and Safety Services as drill coordinator and fire safety inspector.

Deputy Town Clerk Kathy Cooper will replace Jaeger on an interim basis. Jaeger had argued Cooper should succeed her temporarily because of her familiarity with the job, and Supervisor Brian Kulpa said the Town Board agreed continuity was important.

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