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Chester County Press

Primary election recap

05/29/2013 02:06AM ● By Brian O

Local municipal races take shape as Republicans and Democrats select their nominees

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

Only one in ten registered voters in Chester County went to the polls during the primary election on May 21. A significant number of races were uncontested and other races had a large number of write-in ballots which have yet to be officially tabulated by the Chester County Department of Voter Services, but here’s a look at some of the results of the Primary Election as they stand right now:

With incumbents Joe Scheese and Christine Peabody deciding not to run for re-election, the Oxford School Board appears to be set for the biggest change among the four school districts in southern Chester County. Newcomer Joe Starcheski defeated another incumbent, Dominic Pirocchi, on both the Republican and Democratic side, to win the nomination for the school district’s first at-large seat. In Region I, Lorraine Durnan Bell received 88 votes on the Republican side. Bell won the Democratic nomination with 75 votes and appears to have a clear path in November. In region II, incumbent Stephen Gaspar cross-filed and won on both the Republican and Democratic side and should be in a strong position for re-election. In Region III, Rich Orpneck won the Republican nomination, setting up a showdown with Democratic nominee Shannon Wells.

In the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, incumbents Keith Knauss and Jeff Hellrung wrapped up the nominations on both the Republican and Democratic sides. In Region B, Michael Rock and Steven Simonson are the nominees for two seats that are up for grabs.

Incumbents from the Kennett School Board had strong showings. School board president Doug Stirling wrapped up the Republican nomination in Region A. In Region B, Kendra LaCosta received 148 votes on the Republican side and another 62 on the Democratic side. Current school board member Joseph Meola, who was picked to fill a vacancy on the board, appears to have wrapped up the nomination for the two-year unexpired term in Region B. Heather Schaen tallied an impressive 318 votes on the Republican side and 390 more on the Democratic side and appears to be in a strong position for re-election in Region C. There is another seat up for election in Region C, and Janis Reynolds, also an incumbent, appeared to have the necessary write-in votes to lock up the nomination for November.

In Avon Grove’s Region I, two Republicans, incumbent Bruce Dobsch and Bob Wickes, wrapped up nominations and will face Democratic nominees Brian Gaerity and Patrick Walker in November. John Emmons received 311 votes to win the Republican nomination in Region II. Longtime school board member Pattie Lyons won the Democratic nomination for another term in Region III. She will be challenged by Republican nominee Penn Hudson.

The race for four seats on Oxford Borough Council will be an interesting one in November. Six candidates received strong support on the Republican side, but it was newcomers, not incumbents, who emerged with the highest vote totals. Paul Matthews, Randy Grace, Gary Tozzo, and incumbent borough council president Ron Hershey apparently earned spots on the ballot as Republican nominees. Jamie Cole, an incumbent councilman, picked up 83 votes for the Democratic nomination. There were a total of 123 write-in votes on the Democratic side, with current council members Hershey, Sherry Andrews and Walter Saranetz, possibly picking up enough write-in votes to earn spots on the Democratic ticket.

Oxford Borough Mayor Geoff Henry appears to have locked up the nomination on both the Republican and Democratic sides for another term as mayor.

Kennett Square Borough Council President Dan Maffei and Geoffrey Bosley both appear to be in a strong position for re-election as they earned nominations on the Republican side. There were 86 write-in votes on the Republican side and 120 write-in votes on the Democratic side, and Lynn Sinclair and Patrick Taylor both garnered significant support that should win them places on the November ballot.

Kennett Square mayor Matt Fetick also earned the nomination for a second term.

In Avondale Borough, longtime mayor Dottie Howell earned the Republican nomination for another term. Wilson Lysle, James J. Duffy, Sr. and William D. Shore, Jr., won the Republican nominations for the three seats that are up for election. Abigail Pyle earned a spot on the ballot on the Democratic side.

In West Grove Borough, mayor Stephen Black earned the nomination for another term. In the race for borough council’s three seats, Christopher Freese and Richard Turkington led the way on the Republican side. Kristin Proto and David Prosser earned Democratic nominations.

John Sarro led all vote-getters in his bid to win a supervisor seat in East Marlborough Township. He finished with 431 votes, followed by Richard Hannum, Jr., who earned 376 votes, to win the Republican nomination. Richard Hicks, an incumbent supervisor, finished a distant third with 213 votes.

Meanwhile, in New Garden Township, with two seats up for grabs, Richard Ayotte led the way with 171 votes to lock up a Republican nomination. There were also 46 write-in votes cast in the race on the Republican side. On the Democratic side, Mike Donovan, with 98 votes, and Richard Zimny, with 76 votes, each locked up nominations.

In a contested race in East Nottingham Township, Art Rieck received 232 votes to 134 for Joe Bauer to earn the Republican nomination.

In Elk Township, Jim George earned the Republican nomination for the supervisor position. Thomas Shar earned the Democratic nomination.

Jim Przywitowski won the Republican nomination for a supervisor position in Kennett Township. This sets up a November showdown with Richard Leff, who overwhelmingly earned the Democratic nomination with 385 votes.

Richard Scott-Harper and Robert F. Weer, Jr., earned the Republican nominations for the two seats that are up for grabs in London Grove Township. Although he has publicly said that he will not seek re-election to the Board, current Supervisor Tim Nelson, whose term ends on Dec. 31, earned the Democratic nomination, and received 84 votes. In addition, there were also 22 write-in votes cast on that side. 

In the Penn Township supervisor race, with two seats up for grabs, incumbent Victor Mantegna locked up a spot on the November ballot, while Ken Bryson won the Republican nomination. Both appear to have a clear path to election in November.

In London Britain Township, David Owens won the Republican nomination.

In Franklin Township, with two seats up for election, David Snyder and Steffen Torres earned the Republican nominations.

Robert Barto won the Republican nomination in New London Township.

Eric Todd won the Republican nomination in West Nottingham Township.

In Lower Oxford Township, Joel C. Brown earned the Republican nomination. Clyde Prigg earned the Democratic nomination.

Incumbent Scott Rugen won the Republican nomination in Upper Oxford Township.

All the results are unofficial until they are certified by the Chester County Department of Voter Services, which usually takes up to two weeks.

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, e-mail

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