Republican candidate Jeffery Zeplowitz soundly defeated Democrat Francina J. Spoth, who ran solely on the Conservative line, in the race for Amherst town clerk Tuesday.
Spoth and Zeplowitz squared off in an unplanned contest after Town Clerk Marjory Jaeger stepped down in September for a job with the University at Buffalo. Zeplowitz was polling nearly twice as many votes as Spoth, with the majority of votes still to be counted Tuesday night.
The town clerk's office collects taxes, grants marriage licenses and responds to requests for public information, among other duties. Both candidates touted their qualifications for the position.
Democrats nominated Spoth, 55, a Town Board member and deputy supervisor who previously served on the Williamsville School Board.
Spoth enjoyed a steep Democratic enrollment advantage in Amherst and outraised Zeplowitz by 2 to 1. She works in research and marketing, after years running a large adult day care center.
GOP nominee Zeplowitz, 49, called himself the underdog in the race.
He's worked for years as a legislative aide to Republican lawmakers in Albany. He also has his own polling and survey firm. This was his first run for office.
Democrats have an edge of 41 percent to 32 percent among registered voters in the town, state records show.
Spoth, however, lost the Democratic ballot line after Republicans successfully argued in a court filing that local Democrats improperly nominated her for the position.
One candidate, or both, may do it all over again next year. This race is to fill the final year of Jaeger's term, and the clerk's job is on the ballot next November for a full four-year term.
The position paid $82,000 this year.
Story topics: Election 2018