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November 4, 2009

CITY OF LOCKPORT: Incumbents Schrader, Alexander, lose re-election bids

Two incumbent Common Council members lost their jobs Tuesday.

Eleven-year Council veteran Patrick W. Schrader, 4th Ward alderman, was turned out of office by small business owner Andrew D. Chapman, while one-term 2nd Ward Alderman Amanda Alexander was defeated by block club activist Jack Smith.

Both incumbents were caught up in hard-fought races that centered more around ward issues than the other Council contests.

Schrader was snagged at least partly by his support for property revaluation — not a popular thing in the wealthiest part of the city — and his advocacy last year for widening of Lincoln Avenue near the high school. Chapman worked hard at making Schrader’s veteran status more liability than asset.

Schrader, a Democrat, had four ballot lines to Chapman’s single Republican line in the election, including the Independence and Conservative lines, which he got with help from GOP Mayor Michael Tucker. Schrader could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Chapman succeeded in his first-ever run for a public office. His gently spoken reaction as the results came up on the Niagara County Board of Elections Web site: “Wow, how wonderful.”

The live vote count was 505, or 56 percent, for Chapman and 397, or 44 percent for Schrader. Chapman called it “close” and “humbling.”

“Growing up, you hear politi-speak and it’s like Charlie Brown: wah wah wah wah; but I’ll tell you, I met somebody (Monday) who told me she cast an absentee ballot for me,” he said. “She took my hand ... she’s trusting me to do the right thing. That is humbling. ... I earned it, now I have to prove it. I’ll do my best, that’s my promise.”

Alexander, meanwhile, was knocked out despite the fact she had three ballot lines — Republican, Independence and Conservative — to Smith’s single Democratic line. Smith campaigned aggressively on the issues of neighborhood blight, poor City Hall-resident communication and general city finances.

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