Just over a quarter of Huntingdon County’s registered voters took part in Tuesday’s primary which election officials say proceeded without significant issues.
The county’s chief clerk and former elections coordinator Heather Fellman said the primary was a fairly smooth operation.
“We did run into a referendum question and we are looking into that,” Fellman said, referring to Logan Township voters’ fire tax option.
The referendum asked voters whether or not they support a 1.5-mill tax increase in support of services provided by their nearest local fire company. According to the county’s unofficial tally, voters rejected the tax increase 82-48.
With the exception of the Republican nominations for county commissioner, district attorney and treasurer, incumbents holding county office went largely unchallenged in the primary.
Register and recorder Virginia Cooper, coroner Paul Sharum and auditor Robin Horne all advanced to the November ballot as Republican nominees. Cooper collected 4,706 votes; Sharum, 4,666; and Horne, 4,229.
Commissioner Jeff Thomas and auditor Craig Greenland advance to the ballot as Democratic nominees. Thomas collected 1,279 votes and Greenland, 1,176.
Magisterial district judge Doug Gummo, who ran unopposed on both ballots, took in 1,977 nods from Republicans and 459 from Democrats, thus securing both nominations.
In municipal races across the county, only a half-dozen provided voters with a contest to decide.
Huntingdon Borough’s registered Democrats weighed in on a four-way contest for nomination to three seats. Council president Nicole Houck emerged at the top vote-getter with 279 nods, followed by Jim Bair with 231 votes, Robert Jackson with 202 votes and Jesse Morgan, 142 votes. Along with Houck, Bair and Jackson are both incumbents.
In Porter Township, Richard Brown secured the Democratic nomination for township supervisor with 39 votes over Michael Kennedy who collected 30 votes.
In Spruce Creek Township, Republicans picked Robert Bigelow as their nominee with 29 votes over Jason Hanscom who collected 17 votes.
In Union Township, Roy Roland garnered the Republican nomination with 61 votes over Michael Unger Sr. who collected 53.
In Warriors Mark Township, Peter Liese collected 133 votes and the Republican nomination over Mark Brown, who earned 95 votes.
The single statewide race on the ballot, for two seats on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court, Huntingdon County Democrats supported attorney Amanda Green-Hawkins of Pittsburgh and attorney Beth Tarasi of Allegheny County; statewide, Green-Hawkins was the top vote-getter and will be joined on the November ballot by Philadelphia judge Daniel MCaffery.
Among Huntingdon County Republicans, Cumberland County judge Christylee Peck was the top pick, followed by former Montour County District Attorney Rebecca Warren. Statewide, Chester County prosecutor Megan King was the top vote-getter and will advance to the November ballot with Peck.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m.; the tabulation process began at 8:50 p.m. with the delivery of ballots from the Hopewell/Hopewell district. The count wrapped up soon after the arrival ballots from Huntingdon Borough’s sixth precinct at 12:20 a.m.
Tammy Thompson, heading up her first election has coordinator, said she was impressed by the collective effort of the nearly 300 individuals who play a role in the process.
“Everyone does their job and jumps in to help where they’re needed,” Thompson said.
Fellman, who served as elections coordinator from April 2017 until January of this year, also expressed appreciation for the team’s Election Day effort.
“We have a really great group of people who band together,” Fellman said, thanking both the county employees who assist on Election Day and the poll workers stationed at the county’s 58 precincts.
There are a total of 15,886 voters registered as Republicans and 7,608 registered as Democrats in Huntingdon County, for a total of 26,146 who were eligible to participate in the primary. There were 6,973 ballots cast, 1,692 by Democrats and 6,973 by Republicans.
According to the county’s unofficial tally, voter turnout among registered Democrats was around 22 percent and among Republicans, 33 percent; counting all participants, turnout was around 27 percent.
Thompson and Fellman will resume their tabulation process this Friday when they conduct the official count. Write-in votes will have to settle a number of nominations, provided a candidate collects enough votes. Fellman said that for county offices, an individual must collect at least 100 write-in votes to appear appear on the November ballot, while municipal seats require individuals to collect at least 10 write-in votes during the primary to advance.
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