The race for two Aurora Town Board seats in the November election is beginning to resemble the ever-popular birthday party game of musical chairs.
Two months after incumbent Supervisor Jolene M. Jeffe announced she would seek a council seat instead of a third term as supervisor, she now is part of a slate of familiar faces.
Councilwoman Susan Friess, a close ally of Jeffe’s, is now running to retain her board seat. Two months ago, she vowed to serve only one term and said she would prefer to effect change from “the outside.” Friess did an about-face and decided to run last week.
That move came on the heels of political newcomer Chuck Snyder, a member of the town’s Planning and Conservation Board, pulling out of the race.
“I had another professional opportunity that came my way, but hopefully, I can get control of it in a relatively short period of time and then pursue a Town Board seat,” said Snyder, who owns a general contracting firm. “I haven’t given up my goal of achieving that spot.”
In the meantime, Jeffe and Friess will face competition from Aurora Republican committeemen Chris Lane and David Majka, who were interviewed and endorsed by the party, to run for the two Town Board seats, which carry four-year terms.
Lane works for State Farm Insurance as a recruiting agent. He unsuccessfully ran in a primary against David DiPietro for Assembly. Majka is the banquet manager for the Roycroft Inn.
Incumbent Councilman James Bach, whose board seat will not be up for two more years, decided in late January to run for supervisor, once he learned Jeffe had decided against running for supervisor again. The supervisor post carries a two-year term.
In a twist, Jeffe, Friess and Bach – aligned together for the campaign – have deliberately distanced themselves from the GOP Committee. The three, who are registered Republicans, sent a letter dated March 8 to GOP Chairman Earl Jann, saying none of them wanted to seek the Republican endorsement.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Jann said Sunday night. “The committee was extremely upset that the three of them decided not to seek the endorsement or come before us for interviews.”
Jann said he was particularly surprised by Bach, with whom he’d already met twice to discuss the election. “We were fully prepared to endorse him,” Jann said.
“No candidate can dictate who their running mates are,” Jann said. “They want to say it’s all them or nothing.”
Jann went a step further. “We aren’t satisfied with all that those three do,” he said, declining to specify what he was referring to. “There are issues that they are not informing the public about. We want to see more open government.”
Jann and Jeffe, whom he helped get elected to supervisor, are not on amicable political terms. “I do not support her anymore,” Jann said.
Friess on Monday said she changed her mind and decided to seek re-election because residents ended up telling her they needed her to continue to lead by example.
“We’ve been working for the residents and taxpayers the last four years, and we want to continue to respond to those taxpayers,” Friess said of herself, Jeffe and Bach. “People have seen us. We’re not an unknown.”
Jeffe late Monday said the three work well together.
“We want to run and ask for the endorsement of the people,” she said.