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There was a time last spring when it looked like the only race for the West Seneca Town Board would be the Democratic primary.

But William P. Hanley Jr., who won the September primary, fended off a challenge from Jim Manley, a Democrat by registration who ran on the Republican line, in Tuesday’s general election to win a four-year term.

The two were competing for the seat held by Councilman John M. Rusinski.

Hanley, a longtime employee of National Fuel, had received the Democratic Committee’s endorsement. He and Rusinski both approached the Republican Committee in May, but the committee decided it wouldn’t make an endorsement for the seat.

Then Manley, still another Democrat, threw his hat into the ring and received the Republican endorsement. Retired after a 13-year career as a records management clerk and Webmaster for the town, Manley filed to change his affiliation to Republican, which won’t happen until Jan. 1.

Hanley, who knocked Rusinski off the ballot in September’s primary elections, winning both the Democratic and Working Families lines, thinks his challenger’s late entry into the race may have hurt Manley’s candidacy.

“The appearance was that they [Republicans] put somebody in there as a backup plan,” Hanley said.

Hanley will join Town Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan and Councilman Eugene P. Hart, both Democrats who were elected in 2011. Terms on the board were staggered after residents voted in favor of downsizing it from five to three members in 2009.

email: jhabuda@buffnews.com