Across county, many seats remain open for primary elections

jvanderk@centredaily.comMarch 13, 2013 

Three of four district judge races will be contested in the May 21 municipal primary election, while District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller will run unopposed, several of dozens of positions coming available across Centre County.

The rest are jury commissioner at the county level and, at the municipal level, borough council members, township supervisors, auditors, tax collectors, constables and school board members. There is one position for Pennsylvania Superior Court, a statewide spot and, locally, election judges and inspectors.

According to the unofficial list of candidates, printed after Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline to file nomination petitions, Parks Miller will run unopposed for her second term, on the Democratic ballot. Only registered Democrats and Republicans may vote in Pennsylvania primaries.

In the judicial districts, Judge Carmine Prestia, who serves half of State College, will run unopposed on both ballots. Judge Leslie Dutchcot, who serves College, Ferguson, Halfmoon and Patton townships, will face Ronald Quinn Jr., of State College. Both candidates cross-filed.

Judge Daniel Hoffman retired from his district last June. Four cross-filed candidates will vie to serve Bellefonte, Milesburg, Howard, Unionville, and Benner, Boggs, Curtin, Liberty, Marion, Spring, Union, Walker and Howard townships.

Jonathan Grine was elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2011, leaving his district vacant, which serves the other half of State College. Three cross-filed candidates will vie for the spot.

Several mayoral races have multiple candidates. In Bellefonte, Kent Addis and Borough Council member Tom Wilson will appear on the Republican ballot. Addis was appointed in November when Mayor Stanley Goldman resigned for health reasons.

In State College, Mayor Elizabeth Goreham will run for re-election on the Democratic ballot. Ron Madrid, a former Planning Commission member, will run on the Republican ballot.

Mayoral openings in Centre Hall, Milesburg, Philipsburg and Port Matilda drew no candidates. In fact, Centre Hall also will have openings on the council and for auditor, tax collector and constable, and no candidates filed for any of those.

Joyce McKinley, director of the Elections and Voter Registration Office, said candidates can run write-in campaigns for the primary, requiring the same number of votes as the number of petition signatures.

“In November, if there are no candidates, you can win the position with one write-in,” she said. “Then we have what we call a drawing.”

Candidates “cast lots” if necessary and, if positions still remain open, municipalities can begin appointing officials.

Assistant Director Jodi Neidig said Tuesday the number of filings is not surprising for a municipal election.

Some townships also will host races. For College Township Council, two Democrats and two Republicans will vie for one two-year spot, while the same candidates and a third Republican will also vie for two four-year spots.

Potter Township has a three-way Republican race for tax collector, and Walker Township a two-way Republican race for that spot.

Most townships with open auditor positions had no candidates file for those seats.

A few races will take place in the county’s school districts. In Bald Eagle Area Region 2, Jeffrey Turner and Jane Bruss Reese will appear on the Democratic ballot for one spot. Only Bruss Reese cross-filed.

In Bellefonte Area, one candidate cross-filed for the open two-year position. Six candidates cross-filed and a seventh appears on the Republican ballot for just four four-year spots.

Penns Valley Area has twice as many candidates as positions open on the board, with various at-large and regional terms coming available this year.

At Philipsburg-Osceola, which has faced much turmoil over the previous year, one race exists for the District 5 seat between cross-filed candidates Mary Ellen Holden and Robert Massung.

The State College Area board also will have a race, with five candidates running for four seats.

Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter.

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