Dem-only Centre County DA race might not be decided in primary election


Democrats and Republicans will go to the polls on Tuesday to determine who they want on the general election ballot. While it might seem like races that only have candidates from one party running will be decided right there and then, that’s not always the case.

Take the race for district attorney between incumbent Stacy Parks Miller and challenger Bernie Cantorna. They’re both running as Democrats, and there are no Republicans on the ballot.

Tuesday’s primary election could decide the winner, but there’s a chance Parks Miller and Cantorna could meet again in November. For that to happen, whoever loses on the Democratic ballot would have to win on the Republican ballot with write-in votes.

Whichever candidate receives at least 250 write-in votes and is the highest vote-getter will win on the Republican ticket, said Jodi Neidig, election coordinator for the Centre County Office of Elections and Voter Registration.

And that also means a Republican could be written in and get on the ballot for November, assuming he or she meets the requirements of the position.

Another race in Centre County where that could come into play is for State College mayor.

Four candidates are seeking the position, and they’re all Democrats — Michael Black, Catherine Dauler, Janet Engeman and Donald Hahn.

Neidig said the highest vote-getter with 10 write-in votes minimum will win on the Republican ballot.

The minimum number of write-in votes is the same as how many signatures candidates needed to get on the ballot originally, Neidig said, and that number is determined by the election code.

Write-in votes have played a role in primaries running into general elections before.

In 2014, state Rep. Mike Fleck lost in the Republican primary, but he won on the Democratic side with enough write-in votes. Now state Rep. Rich Irvin, R-Spruce Creek Township, had been removed from the GOP ballot but garnered more votes than Fleck through a write-in campaign, according to PennLive.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz

Primary municipal election

▪ Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

▪ Find your polling place at http://centrecountypa.gov/index.aspx?NID=238.