Centre County Board of Commissioners make history on Election Night

The results are in and for the first time in 72 years, the board of commissioners was reelected to continue serving on the chief governing body of Centre County.

With 100% of precincts reporting, Commissioners Michael Pipe, Mark Higgins and Steve Dershem will remain on the board with Pipe and Higgins keeping their positions as chair and vice chair.

Running on a joint Democratic ticket, Pipe and Higgins secured their third and second terms, respectively. Pipe garnered 17,947 votes, and Higgins received 16,924 votes.

“We showed the power of a positive message about bringing people together to solve the problems we face as a community,” Pipe said. “For the last four years, Mark and I, along with hundreds of county employees and engaged citizens have shown that this approach can work. We can create a safer county. We can start to restore trust in county government. We can build a local economy that works for everyone. Yes, we can increase services without increasing property taxes all while passing balanced budgets every single year. What’s even more exciting is the fact that we’re going to be back for another four years as your county commissioners.”

Republican incumbent Dershem, who has served on the board for 16 years, earned 15,747 votes.

Dershem was unavailable for comment but thanked voters for their support on social media after the results were in.

Former commissioner and Republican candidate Chris Exarchos lost the race after securing 13,487 votes.

In a statement posted on Facebook Wednesday morning, Exarchos thanked his supports, friends and family for their “love, respect and generosity” throughout the campaign.

“You buoyed me during this challenge and helped restore my faith in how good people can be,” he wrote. “To the naysayers and those caught up in the negative atmosphere of today’s political climate, I hope that you can find it in your hearts to embrace civility and learn from the discussion we should all be having.”

Pipe said he is excited to continue serving on the board and thanked candidates for their hard work while running for office. During his remarks at a Democrat Watch Party in State College, Pipe said he and Higgins are excited to see some new “team members” join the county team.

Following Tuesday’s election results, Centre County residents will see some new faces in county roles.


Democrat Jason Moser will serve as the next county controller. With 17,391 votes, Moser beat Republican candidate Hank Fifield who received 15,526 votes.


Democrat Scott Sayers was reelected as county coroner — his sixth term. Sayers ran unopposed and received 31,418 votes.

Sayers said he would “continue to serve cooperatively with state and local law enforcement, EMS, fire personnel, medical profession and other government agencies” to combat Centre County’s ongoing opioid crisis.


After receiving 18,688 votes, Jeremy Breon will succeed current Prothonotary Debra Immel, who is retiring after serving for 44 years. Breon beat Republican candidate Patrick Miller, who secured 14,006 votes.

“I’m honored to be able to utilize my experience over the years and to be the prothonotary-elect,” Breon said. “My parents always taught me to be kind, be honest and help those in need, and that’s what I plan to do as your next prothonotary.”


Republican incumbent Joseph Davidson will serve a sixth term as recorder of deeds. With 16,882 votes, Davidson beat challenger and Democratic candidate Georgi Bennett, who earned 16,203 votes.

“I wanted to thank the Centre County voters for their support and for allowing me to serve them for the next four years,” Davidson said.


Republican incumbent Christine Millinder ran unopposed for register of wills. With 23,643 votes, she will serve a second term.

“I will make sure my staff is cross-trained in all areas of the office, providing the highest level of confidentiality with personal and confidential information,” Millinder said.


Challenger and write-in candidate Hobson McKown did not secure enough votes to beat Republican incumbent Bryan Sampsel in the election for sheriff. With 30,894 votes, Sampsel will serve a second term as sheriff.

“I’m happy and thankful for my family and my friends and for the community for voting for me to serve my second term,” Sampsel said.


With 17,357 votes, Democrat Colleen Kennedy earned enough votes to beat Republican candidate Blaine Thomas in the race for Centre County treasurer. Thomas received 15,773 votes.


Don Hahn, Kelley Gillette-Walker and Steven Lachman all ran opposed for district judge seats.

Related stories from Centre Daily Times

Marley Parish reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Slippery Rock and graduated from Allegheny College.