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Chester County Press

Election results 2017: Democrats take the lead

11/08/2017 08:52AM ● By J. Chambless

Campaign signs lined the road at the Penn Township Building on Nov. 7 as voters went to the polls.

The Republican deadlock on Chester County row office positions that has endured since 1799 was broken by voters across the county on Nov. 7, as Democrats won a large block of county-wide races.

In a dramatic turn of events, four Republican-dominated row seats went to Democrats by wide margins. In the race for County Treasurer, Patricia Maisano defeated Jack London, 57,236- 49,453; Margaret Reif defeated Norman Macqueen, 57,455-47,824 for the County Controller seat; Yolanda van de Krol defeated Robin Marcello, 56,113-50,119 for the Clerk of Courts; and Christina Vandepol defeated Gordon Eck, 57,500-48,789 in the race for County Coroner.

Democrats performed very well in very competitive borough council races in Kennett Square and Oxford as well.

Incumbent Democrats LaToya Myers (569 votes) and Ethan Cramer (523 votes) earned four-year terms on Kennett Square Borough Council, and will be joined on council by Brenda Mercomes (546 votes) and Peter Waterkotte (524 votes), who won first-terms on council.

In Oxford Borough, with four seats also being decided, the three Democratic candidates—Amanda Birdwell (498 votes), Robert Ketcham (468 votes) and Phillip Hurtt II (405 votes) all won seats, while council president Ron Hershey (425 votes) won a fourth term on council. Hershey won a nomination on both the Democratic and Republican side in the Primary Election.

In local mayoral races, Democrat Lorraine Durnan Bell is the new mayor of Oxford Borough, finishing with 391 votes, or 49 percent, compared to 341 votes, or 43 percent for Republican Pam Benjamin. Nearly eight percent of the votes were cast for write-in candidates, most of those presumably going to incumbent council member Randy Grace, though those results were not known as of yet. In Kennett Square Borough, Matthew Fetick was unopposed and handily won re-election. The same was true of incumbent mayor Stephen Black in West Grove.

The races for seats on the Avon Grove School Board were extremely competitive. In Region I, challengers John Auerbach, who earned 1,422 votes, and Lynn Weber, who earned 1,397 votes, defeated incumbents Brian Gaerity and Patrick Walker, who picked up 1,131 votes and 1,109 votes, respectively. In Region II, Rick Dumont finished with 1,762 votes, while Ed Farina picked up 1,544 votes. In Region III, incumbent Bill Wood earned 1,091 votes to 970 for challenger Jeffrey Casey.

In the Oxford School Board races, Kristen Dean earned 52 percent of the vote, while Donna Arrowood earned 48 percent in the race for the at-large seat. In Region I, David Severino finished with 413 votes, or 52 percent, while Eric Owens earned 379 votes, or 48 percent in the contest for an open seat on the board. Incumbent Stephen Gaspar easily won re-election in Region II, where he was unopposed. Jenifer Warren finished with 911 votes while Charley Moore earned 875 votes in the contest for a Region III seat.

Mark Bowden was unopposed and easily won a first term on the Kennett School Board from Region A. In Region B, Paola Rosas finished with 932 votes, or 56 percent, to win the seat currently held by school board president Kendra LaCosta, who finished with 731 votes, or 44 percent. Bill Brown, with 1,637 votes, and Vicki Gehrt, with 1,302 votes, won the two seats on the Kennett School Board from Region C.

Unionville-Chadds Ford School District school directors Elise Anderson, Jeff Hellrung, Thomas Day and Steven Simonson were re-elected to their positions after running unopposed.

In Franklin Township, incumbent township supervisor Penelope Schenk lost to newcomer Democrat Nancy Moshel Morris by a vote of 830 to 628. 

In East Marlborough Township, Democrats Julia McGovern Lacy took 1,126 votes and Democrat Robert B. McKinstry, Jr., took 1,104 votes to defeat Republican incumbent supervisor Eddie Caudill (845 votes) and Republican Tom Simpers (880 votes) for seats on the Board of Supervisors.

In New Garden Township, Republican incumbent Stephen Allaband defeated Democratic challenger Mark Tully, 929-748, to earn his third term on the board. New Garden voters also reversed their 2014 vote against approving a dedicated tax for the Kennett Library by approving a similar referendum on this year's ballot by a vote of 1,014-651. By voting in favor of the referendum, New Garden residents will pay a yearly dedicated tax that would average about $20 per household, which is expected to generate about $80,000 to the library, every year.

In Kennett Township, current board chairman Scudder Stevens won an uncontested victory to earn his second term on the board, earning 96 percent of the vote; and in London Grove Township, Dave Connors gathered 42 percent of the vote to gain his second full term on the board of supervisors, while in a race of newcomers, Republican Lee Irwin narrowly defeated Democrat Rich Ruggieri, 851-785 to earn a six-year term on the five-member board.

Michael Watson finished with 961 votes and won his first term on the East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors. Sam Goodley, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board two years ago, also won a seat on the board with 661 votes. Watson and Goodley topped Joe Raffa, a Republican who earned 580 votes, and Gary Coates, an Independent, who earned 331 votes.

Longtime Republican Penn Township supervisor Curtis Mason won another term, topping challenger Gabe Passero by a margin of 835 to 624.

The hotly contested race for Magisterial District Judge in Kennett Square pitted Republican attorney Jane Donze against Democrat attorney Al Iacocca, and Iacocca netted 5,036 votes to Donze's 3,569.

Scott Massey handily won re-election as the magisterial district judge of District Court 15-3-05, out-polling Stephen Sheppleman, 5,162-1,635.

According to Chester County Voters Services, there were 151,240 registered Republicans for this year's election, 133,570 Democrats, and 60,659 independent voters.

Results from all 228 precincts are available at: