GOP sweeps county races, many close local races

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One-vote margins in So. Coatesville and Downingtown council races

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
Election2013Republicans in general fared very well in countywide elections, but local and school board races told a somewhat different story, as Democrats won seats on some of local school boards and local government bodies in Tuesday’s elections.

Based on unofficial numbers from Chester County Voter Services, turnout was fairly light, with just 22.7% of registered voters casting ballots county-wide.

In the county-wide races for row offices and Court of Common Pleas, the GOP won an easy sweep. Patrick Carmody and Jeffrey Sommer held off Julia Malloy-Good for two spots on the Court of Common Pleas. In the row office races, incumbent Republican county treasurer Ann Duke easily defeated Democrat Nina Haslip, and GOP newcomers Norman MacQueen (Comptroller), Robin Marcello (Clerk of Courts), Gordon Eck (Coroner) won election over the Democratic slate of Carmen Boyd, Tisha Brown and Howard Jones.

The four county judges on the ballot for retention, Jacqueline Carroll Cody, Edward Griffith, John Hall and James P. MacElree II all won bids for retention on the Court of Common Pleas.

But local races ranging from Coatesville to Unionville were more of a mix, and in some areas, Democrats fared well, including in some areas where they typically haven’t performed as well in the past. And a handful of races were so close, in South Coatesville and Downingtown, among others — or featured write-in candidates — that they may not be decided for a number of days.

In the heated Coatesville Area School District Board of Education election — passion sparked over the resignation of former Superintendent of Schools Richard Como — at least two new board members will be seated next month.

In CASD Region I, Deborah Thompson, a Democrat, won easy victory with 54.6% of the vote over Republican Robert Beckershoff (34%), while independent incumbent Tonya Thames Taylor got just 11% percent of the vote.

In Region II, Stu Deets, a Republican, outpaced Alain Foster 61-7% to 37.3% for the seat being vacated by Joseph E. Dunn Jr.

In Region III, because of write-in races by Democrats Greg Wynn and Greg Axe, it was unclear whether Republican incumbent Laurie Knecht and GOP newcomer Kim Mammel won election. Knecht got 1,098 votes, while Mammel got 1,023. But there were 1,753 write-in votes, and it will depend on the split of those votes as to whether Mammel was able to hold off the write-in candidates, although it is likely that Knecht won reelection.

In the quieter municipal races — all of which saw higher turnout because of the CASD races — there was more of mix of results.

In Coatesville, in the Second Ward race, Democrat Marie Hess ran unopposed for City Council and got 97.8% of the vote.

In the Fourth Ward, current City Council president David Collins ran unopposed and won 97.3% of the vote.

In the Fifth Ward, for a two-year unexpired seat, there were no candidates on the ballot, but some 43 write-in votes were cast.

In the At-Large City Council race, current incumbents Ingrid Jones and Joseph Hamrick ran unopposed.

In South Coatesville — where borough voters were seeking to elect the first new mayor in decades to replace the retiring James Washington — Democrat John Long edged James Marino, 113-92.

In the Borough Council race, Republican Craig Morris won one of four seats, earning 126 votes. After that, the margins were razor-thin, with Democrat Barbara Newsuan getting 106 votes, incumbent Democrat Sylvia Washington getting 103, incumbent Republican Terry Bruno getting 101 as the top four vote-getters. But Republican Amy Olin got 100 votes, and incumbent Republican Joseph Frisco got 98, while Democrat incumbent John Washington got 94 and Democrat Gilbert Parker got 94. There were five write-in votes recorded. A recount is expected.

In Modena, again, there were no candidates for mayor and a total of eight write-in ballots cast.

In the Borough Council race, independent Jimmy Bricker and Republican incumbents John McCorkle and Kenneth Lloyd won three council seats.

In Caln, in a tough-fought campaign for three seats on the Township Commission, Republican newcomers Cynthia Haynes Eshelman and John Contento won seats, while incumbent Democrat Joshua Young finished between the two to stay on the board. Challenger Adam Thomas trailed Contento by 120 votes and lost his bid for a seat.

In West Brandywine, Doug Smith ran unopposed for supervisor and won 92.1% of the vote.

In East Fallowfield, in a hotly contested race for supervisor, Republicans Charles Kilgore and Steven Herzog held off Democrats Kevin Richardson and Cheryle Hanson, in a bid to replace retiring supervisors Chris Makley and Chris Amentas.

In West Caln, Republican incumbent Allen Martin held off Democrat John Haines 598-362 for supervisor.

In the Downingtown Area School District Board of Education races, Republicans swept the contested races. In Region 4 Republican incumbent Bob Yorczyk beat John Ganski. In Region 6, incumbent Suzanne Divito Simonelli held off Democrat Dawn Richter. In Region 8, Republican Barbara Albright defeated Democrat Jason Benfield. In Region 2, incumbent Barbara Hurt-Simmons ran unopposed.

In Downingtown, incumbent Democratic Mayor Josh Maxwell held off Republican Tony Babcock easily, winning by a 67.7% to 31.2% margin.

In what may be the closest race in the county, in the Borough Council East Ward seat race, Democrat Ann Feldman edged Republican Phil Dague, 336 to 335. The race is subject to a recount, and may not be official for some time.

In the West Ward, Democrats Patricia McGlone and Anthony Gazzerro had solid wins over Republicans Brenda Brinton and Tony Babcock (who ran for both Mayor and Borough Council and lost both bids).

In East Brandywine, incumbent Democrat Jay G. Fischer held off Republican Kyle Scribner by just 62 votes for Township Supervisor.

In East Caln, Don Ash ran unopposed and won 98.1% of the vote for supervisor.

In Upper Uwchlan, Republican Guy Donatelli was unchallenged for supervisor and won 97.4% of the vote.

In Uwchlan, Fred Gaines ran unopposed for supervisor, and won 97.6% of the vote.

In Wallace, incumbent supervisor Robert Jones ran unopposed and won 94.5% of the vote.

In West Bradford, Republican Bruce Laverty ran unopposed and got 96.4% of the vote for supervisor.

In West Pikeland, Richard Bright Jr. and Pamela Conti ran unopposed for two seats on the Board of Supervisor and won easily.

In the Kennett Consolidated School District Board of Education races, incumbent Republican Doug Stirling won reelection in Region A, running unopposed. In Region B, Kendra Lacosta also ran unopposed.

In Kennett Square, Mayor Matthew Fettick won reelection easily, running unopposed.

In the Borough Council race, Danilo Maffei, Geoffrey Bosley, D. Lynn Sinclair and Patrick Taylor all ran unopposed for four seats. For an unexpired two-year seat, there were no candidates, but 76 write-in votes.

In Kennett Township, Democrat Richard Leff defeated Republican Jim Przywitowski, by a 55.5% to 44.4% margin, giving Democrats control of the township’s Board of Supervisors for the first time in decades, if not longer.

In New Garden, Republicans Richard Ayotte and Randy Geouque outpolled Democrats Mike Donovan and Richard Zimny for supervisor. Republican J. Patrick Little won an unexpired two-year term on the board, having run unopposed.

In the Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of Education race, in Region C Leticia Flores DeWilde, a Democrat appointed to the board in July, failed in her bid for two more years on the board, losing to Republican Carolyn Daniels, 1016-866.

In the other regions, no seats were contested. In Region A, incumbents Keith Knauss and Jeff Hellrung won reelection, while in Region B, newcomers Steven Simonson and Michael Rock won four-year terms on the board.

In East Marlborough, long-time supervisor Richard Hicks lost his bid for reelection, as Republicans, Richard Hannum Jr., an incumbent, and John Sarro, a newcomer, won the top two slots. Sarro was the top vote getter with 871, while Hannum got 746 and Hicks 526.

In Birmingham, unopposed supervisor Scott Boorse won reelection to a full term on the Board of Supervisors.

In Pocopson, Republican Matt Read held off Democrat Holly Manzone, 289-242, in a bid to replace the retiring Steve Conary on the Board of Supervisors.

In Pennsbury, Scotty Scottoline, running unopposed, won reelection as supervisor, getting 96% of the vote.

In Newlin, incumbent supervisor Janie Baird won reelection, running unopposed, getting 95.8% of the vote.

In West Marlborough, long-time supervisor William Wylie ran unopposed and garnered 92.3% of the vote.

In Chadds Ford, former school board member Frank Murphy, a Republican defeated Democrat Rhona Klein

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