Republicans maintained their position as the region’s dominant political party as they defeated Democratic challengers in many local races.
Republican Randall L. Miller got more than 63% of the vote to defeat Democrat Dan Stephenson in the race for magisterial district judge, one of the biggest local races. Miller and Stephenson, who are both lawyers, were vying to be the successor to Magisterial District Judge Jayne F. Duncan, who resigned in April of 2018. (Miller is not to be confused with attorney Randall K. Miller, who practices law from an office on South Market Street in Elizabethtown and is not running for any public office.) Miller’s election means there will be a magisterial district judge in the court that serves Elizabethtown Borough, Mount Joy Township, West Donegal Township and Conoy Township. With the office currently vacant, Mount Joy Magisterial District Judge Scott E. Albert has been pulling double duty, handling cases from both the Elizabethtown and Mount Joy courts’ jurisdictions.
For Elizabethotwn school board, six candidates were vying for five seats up for election. Incumbents Karen Sweigart, Caroline Lalvani, Terry L. Seiders and Craig M. Hummer were nominated by both major parties and took the top four spots. Republican incumbent Michael Martin had 3,716 votes to win the fifth spot; Democratic challenger Kristy Moore had 2,467 votes.
For Elizabethtown Borough Council, Republican incumbents Phillip P. Clark and Jeff McCloud defeated Democratic challengers Deb Jones and John Auker-Endres. In the Third Ward, Clark got 541 votes to defeat Jones, who had 396 votes. In the Second Ward, McCloud had 278 votes to defeat Auker-Endres, who had 153 votes. First Ward incumbent Republican Councilor Tom Shaud had no opponent on the general election ballot and was re-elected with 337 votes.
In Mount Joy Borough, there were no contested races on the general election ballot, but there was a writein campaign. Write-in votes are not counted on election night and will not be available until a later count. David F. Eichler and William A. Hall, both Republicans, were the only candidates on the ballot for two seats to be elected in the borough’s East Ward. In the West Ward, Bob Ruschke got the nomination of both major parties with write-in votes. In the Florin Ward, Dominic Castaldi, a Democrat, got the nomination of both major parties with write-in votes.
In the general election, Castaldi said there was an effort to defeat him with write-in votes.
“We ran into a spirited write-in campaign by the opposition, but it seemed to peter out in the afternoon,” Castaldi said at a gathering of Democratic candidates and supporters on election night.
In Marietta Borough, five candidates were competing for four Borough Council seats. Incumbent Jeffery Marsh had the nomination of both the Democratic and Republican parties and was re-elected with 309 votes. Incumbents Freddy States and Bill Dalzell were nominated by the Democrats and were re-elected with 303 and 267 votes respectives. Republican nominee Rebecca Caroll-Baltozer was elected with 312 votes; Republican Frederick O. Gabriel II got 216 votes to bring up the rear. Marietta elects its Borough Council at-large, so all the borough’s voters get to pick which four of the candidates they like best.
In West Donegal Township, three candidates were vying for two seats for six-year terms on the Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Republicans Roger Snyder and Douglas Hottenstein had 1,251 and 1,229 votes respectively to defeat Democratic challenger Katie Burnett, who had 786 votes. For a four-year term as township supervisor, former supervisor Ralph Horne, a Republican, was unopposed and was elected with 1,551 votes.
In East Donegal Township, Republican incumbent Allen Esbenshade was re-elected as township supervisor with 880 votes to defeat Democratic nominee Abram Campbell, who had 361.
In Conoy Township, Republican incumbent John L. Shearer had no opponent on the ballot for township supervisor, but there was an effort by write-in candidate Justin Risser to oust him. With write-in totals not available on election night, the results of that were unclear. But Shearer’s 263 votes were far less than half of the 760 total votes cast for magisterial district judge in the township, which could be an indication of a strong write-in campaign.
Republicans swept the contested countywide races for common pleas judge, district attorney and prothonotary.