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Down to the wire on election night

It came down to the last Centre County precinct, the 89th to report, to see if incumbent Rich Rogers would come back and overtake newcomer Michael Pipe for the second Democratic nomiation for commissioner.

Rogers trailed most of the night and had been coming back thanks to late returns from Bellefonte and Milesburg.

The last precinct brought him to within 30, but it stopped there. Only write-ins remain and they're more likely to say Donald Duck than either of these guys.

So Pipe, who ran unsuccessfully but gainfully against U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, gets on the ballot with commissioner heavyweights Steve Dershem, Jon Eich and Chris Exarchos.

Three of those men will be elected in November, and it'll be a clear choice of experience vs the newcomer.

Dershem again soared and Exarchos ran well all night, easily beating the rest of the GOP field. If there was a surprise, it was that Sue Mascolo ran poorly. You might have expected partisan Republicans to vote her way instead of Exarchos, considering that his write-in effort four years ago essentially prevented her election as commissioner.

But Republicans clearly weren't thinking that way. They wanted Exarchos back in.

Eich ran strongly on the Democratic side, clearly the party faithful's choice over Rogers. You wondered whether Eich support would drop, given the rocky year they three incumbents have had just in dealing with each other. But voters, if they penalized anyone, steered away from Rogers. All night it came down to Pipe and Rogers.

It should be an interesting fall campaign. I'd say Centre Countians are fortunate to have these candidates, carrying great experience and good ideas. Primary voters -- the few that cast ballots -- did a nice job.

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