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The Democrats’ 17-year reign over Lancaster town government spirals forward, much to the Republicans’ dismay.

But the town Republican machine scored in the town justice race with Anthony J. Cervi’s win over Democrat Mark S. Aquino for the open seat vacated by retiring 38-year Town Justice J. Michael Kelleher, according to unofficial election results. Many political observers had viewed Aquino as the favorite.

In the heated race for highway superintendent, Democrat Daniel J. Amatura solidly defeated Republican challenger Joseph M. Brainard, who was supported by Buffalo developer Carl Paladino.

In the Town Board race, Democratic incumbent Councilmen Ronald Ruffino Sr., a 12-year veteran on the board, and John M. Abraham Jr. teamed up for a major victory to defeat GOP political newcomers Patrick F. Sportelli and Robert E. Leary.

The Democrats’ 4-1 majority control on the Town Board leaves Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli as the lone Republican. The Lancaster GOP Committee hoped they had “a comeback team,” but voters thought otherwise.

Democratic Town Chairman Paul M. Tarapacki touted a proven track record of fiscal conservatism and said the town’s growth shows Democratic leadership is strong. He dismissed the GOP campaign as full of rhetoric.

The victory was not surprising in a town where Democrats account for 40 percent of registered voters to the Republicans’ 29 percent. In all, there are 29,016 registered voters in town.

The Lancaster Republican board candidates had campaigned hard for government reform – highlighting transparency, accountability and better fiscal control to manage the town’s growth – and paralleling Fudoli’s mantra. “It’s been too much of an insider’s game for too long now, with the Democrats coasting on autopilot,” Sportelli said.

Ruffino’s platform focused on quality services at reasonable rates, and further improving senior and youth bureau programs. Abraham campaigned on improving the town’s infrastructure and holding taxes down.

GOP Committee Chairman Robert Matthews was hungry to score a big win by crushing the Democrats’ stronghold on government, which has been in place since former Supervisor Robert H. Giza won election in 1996.

Cervi won the heated town justice race against favorite Democrat Aquino, a town councilman and Depew village attorney. Cervi had focused solely on being dedicated to practicing law and on the issue of character, given Aquino’s censure more than a year ago over commingling of $2,500 in funds which was rectified. Aquino had touted his strong work ethic and varied legal experience.

email: krobinson@buffnews.com