Few Centre County ballots see contested races

Dusty DeVinney, a county employee, rolls a ballot machine off of a truck at the Potter Township Municipal Building on Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s primary elections.
Dusty DeVinney, a county employee, rolls a ballot machine off of a truck at the Potter Township Municipal Building on Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s primary elections. CDT photo

Tuesday’s primary election will be historic for the state, but for Centre County, the ballot holds few surprises.

“It’s been a very quiet election,” Centre County Office of Elections Director Joyce McKinley said.

Delivery of voting equipment was all but completed Monday in preparation for what is expected to be a low turnout. With few large statewide elections on the ballot, it remains to be seen how many will come out and vote for what are mostly uncontested row offices and local municipalities.

But not all offices are uncontested. A pair of retirements have opened up positions in the races for register of wills and county sheriff. Kim Barton, who held the position of register for the past two elections announced she was stepping down earlier this year, leading three individuals to seek the position.

Democratic challenger Amanda McCartney will likely advance to the November election, but the primary will tell the fate of Republican challengers Hope Miller and Christine Millinder, as only one can proceed to November.

The situation is the same in the race for sheriff. Incumbent Denny Nau announced he was stepping away from his role after 24 years. Bryan Sampsel and Richard Swank face each other on the primary ticket, with the top vote-getter going on to the November election. Matthew Rickard is unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

Three seats are open on the Harris Township Board of Supervisors — two six-year seats, and one four-year seat that was vacated by former supervisor Christopher Lee. Frank Harden is seeking the four-year and a six-year seat on the Republican ticket, and will automatically move to the November election. On the Democratic ticket, incumbent Dennis Hameister is seeking a six-year seat, as are Christopher Gamble and newly appointed Supervisor Bruce Lord. Gamble and Lord are also seeking the four-year seat. The top vote-getter for the four-year seat and the top two vote-getters for the six-year seats on the Democratic ticket in the primary will move on to the November election.

A pair of borough elections could see a shakeup in their respective lineups. Bellefonte Borough Council President Frank Halderman will face Joanne Tosti-Vasey on the Democratic ticket. In State College, five residents are seeking seats on the Democratic ticket — incumbent Cathy Dauler, Jesse Barlow, David Stone, Janet Engeman and David Brown. The top four vote-getters in the primary will go on to the November election.

Five seats are open on the Bellefonte Area school board. Robert Pacella, Daniel Miltenberger, John Elnitski Jr., Kimberly Hearn, and incumbents Hope Boylston and Bob Lumley-Sapanski have cross-filed. Gregory Overturf has filed as a Democrat. The top five vote-getters on the Republican ticket and Democratic ticket will go on to the November election.

Residents of Huston Township will be asked to vote on a referendum favoring granting a liquor license for the sale of liquor at Skytop Mountain Golf Club. The Huston ballot is the only ballot in the county with two sides, McKinley said.

Statewide, voters will want to keep their eyes on the race for Supreme Court justice, Superior Court judge and Commonwealth Court judge.

Three seats are open for the state Supreme Court, with six candidates running on both tickets. This is the first time the state high court has had three seats open simultaneously in 311 years, and it could have a large impact on redistricting in the state.

Two candidates are running for a single seat on the Democratic ticket for both Superior Court and Commonwealth Court.

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