A slew of Republicans in the Town of Amherst are registering as members of the Conservative Party. Town Supervisor Barry Weinstein and Town Clerk Marjory Jaeger are reportedly among the new registrants, sparking a flurry of political speculation that the Amherst GOP is making a power play to takeover the Erie County Conservative Party.
Town Chairman Bill Kindel doubts the politicos are genuine conservatives. Kindle is rumored to be planning a technical maneuver to disqualify the party registrations, as per obscure provisions of the party rules.
Town Board Members Guy R. Marlette and Barbara Nuchereno, former Amherst GOP Chairman E. Marshall Wood Jr., and Comptroller Darlene Carroll are reported to have registered with the minor party. As many as 20 members of the party committee are thought to participating in the alleged coupe.
Congressional nominee Shelly Shratz, who joined the Conservative Party two years ago, is denying involvement in coup, as is Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy.
That is unlikely to calm Erie County Conservative Chairman Ralph C. Lorigo — who has governed the county organization with an iron grip. “I believe some of this is driven by a vendetta between [Kindle] and the supervisor,” Langworthy told The Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy.
Weinstein is term limited. He has not ruled out seeking a higher office. He is expected to be eying the State Senate seat held by Mike Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst) and the Congressional seat held by Brian Higgins (D-South Buffalo).
Only 1,500 or so Amherst voters are registered as Conservatives, but the line often is the margin of victory in competitive contests for Town Council and Supervisor.