State College

Penn State student to run as Republican off write-in votes for State College Borough Council

Important changes coming to voting machines

Jonathan Marks, Commissioner for the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, and members of the Pennsylvania Department of State held an expo to show Centre County voters new voting equipment.
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Jonathan Marks, Commissioner for the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation, and members of the Pennsylvania Department of State held an expo to show Centre County voters new voting equipment.

Penn State junior Tom Dougherty III will officially run on the Republican ticket for State College Borough Council come November.

One of two Penn State students running in a crowd of older professionals, Dougherty ran on an eight-person Democratic ticket comprised of three incumbents, a former borough manager and a Penn State assistant dean.

Though he considers himself a progressive Democrat, Dougherty — who didn’t get enough votes on the Democratic ticket — secured his nomination through 15 write-in votes on the Republican ballot during the May 21 municipal primary election.

“I definitely was surprised,” he said of his win on the Republican ballot. But his write-in vote tally, he said, “means (Republicans) want to see some change and that they’re not happy.”

He also said the hundreds of votes he got on the Democratic ticket show that he has widespread support across the borough.

Centre County Director of Elections Joyce McKinley confirmed that Dougherty won the third-most votes on the Republican ballot — behind lone Republican and former state representative Lynn Herman and Democrat Peter Marshall, who received 25 write-in votes. Dougherty officially accepted his nomination on Monday.

Both Marshall and incumbent Democrat Janet Engeman won enough votes on both the Republican and Democratic tickets to be listed under both parties in November, said McKinley. In the fall, Dougherty will face off against the two of them, Herman, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Assistant Dean Deanna Behring and incumbent Jesse Barlow for four open seats.

“Even though I’m running on the Republican ballot, I’m still very progressive,” said Dougherty, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C. but most recently called Pittsburgh his home. “... I just want to see this town grow and get better.”

Now, at 20, Dougherty is officially the youngest candidate running for borough council, since fellow Penn State student Jackson Fitzgerald did not garner enough votes in the primary. He said he never imagined he’d be this young running for public office, but now he is “forging this path myself.”

“I’m really excited,” he said. “... I really think I can bring a new, fresher perspective (to this role).”

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