Lachman defeats Bardo for State College district judgeship

mcarroll@centredaily.comNovember 5, 2013 

Steven Lachman won election as a State College district judge on Tuesday, comfortably holding off Susan Bardo as the political newcomers dueled for the post.

Lachman, who has a solo law practice in State College, will take over the downtown office vacated when then-District Judge Jonathan D. Grine was elected as a county judge in 2011. Senior Judge Robert Horner has been filling in since.

Unofficial results posted on the county website show Lachman with 791 votes, or 58 percent, and Bardo with 576, or 42 percent.

“I’m thrilled, and I’m relieved,” Lachman said Tuesday night.

“Seeking this office was all about public service,” he said. “I’ll be honored to serve the people of State College. It’s a great community. One that I got to know especially well knocking on probably 2,000 doors during the campaign.”

The door-to-door campaigning seemed to pay off Tuesday, with Lachman taking eight of nine possible precincts. Bardo won only in State College West 1 precinct, according to unofficial results.

There was less drama in three district judge races that were all but decided in the spring’s primary election. Incumbent judges Carmine Prestia, Leslie Dutchcot and Kelley Gillette-Walker all safely won election Tuesday, according to the unofficial numbers.

Lachman is a former assistant professor of legal writing at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law and earned a doctorate in geography from the university.

He said his experience attending, teaching at and sending his children to Penn State gives him the necessary perspective for a district judge seat that will deal largely with university students.

Leading up to the election, Lachman said whoever takes the seat will be responsible for helping integrate university students into the community and sharing with them the morals of local residents.

“I see my role more as an educator than a disciplinarian,” he said. “When students go astray, I want to see if I can get them back on the right side.”

Bardo, who also touted her experience as an attorney in campaigning for the post, works at Stover, McGlaughlin, Gerace, Weyandt & McCormick.

Lachman praised his opponent Tuesday, saying “She would have been a good district judge.”

Bardo could not be reached for comment.

In the uncontested races:

• Gillette-Walker, a Centre County assistant district attorney, cruised to victory with 99 percent of the vote. She defeated a field of three other candidates in the primary to win both party nominations in her quest for the district judge seat representing Bellefonte, Milesburg, Howard and Unionville boroughs and Benner, Boggs, Curtin, Liberty, Marion, Union, Howard and Walker townships and parts of Spring Township.

• Dutchcot, seeking her second term, won re-election to her seat representing College, Ferguson, Halfmoon and Patton Townships. She defeated challenger Ron Quinn Jr. on both ballots in the May primary and entered the general election unopposed.

• Incumbent District Judge Carmine Prestia faced an uncontested race to retain his seat serving State College. Prestia faced no competition in the primary, and had both Republican and Democratic nominations.

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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