GOP seeks to break Democrats’ lockdown on City of Amherst board of directors | Local News


Jacqueline C. Berger

Photo provided

In both city council races, incumbent Democrats Berger and Lavin, initially elected in 2017 with Kulpa, face GOP challengers Herman and Rider.

Berger, 65, also an assistant supervisor, is a longtime organizer with public sector unions and retired from SUNY Empire State after 20 years. Lavin, 40, is director of veteran services for Erie County and captain of the 107th Air National Guard Attack Wing based in Niagara Falls.

Herman, 63, is a lawyer and longtime former deputy district attorney for Erie County. Rider, 76, is a Navy veteran, licensed professional engineer and longtime executive in the heavy construction industry who sits on the Amherst and Williamsville Road Safety Boards.

Photo by Ray Herman

Ray Herman, Republican candidate for Amherst city council.

Photo provided

Berger lost the Conservative primary earlier this year, when Lavin and Herman seized that party’s two voting lines for the general election.

With the two Democratic incumbents also holding the Working Families Party lines, supporters of the Republican candidates have formed a new party, United for Amherst, which offers another spot on the ballot where challengers can collect votes.

Republicans note that a GOP candidate lost the last city council seat in the 2019 election by just 49 votes. But Democrats have a huge registration advantage, with 43% of voters registered in Amherst versus 29% for Republicans.

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