CLARION – Local attorney Sara Seidle-Patton is on track to become Clarion County’s first-ever female judge of the Court of Common Pleas as the Clarion-area resident secured both the Republican and Democratic party nominations for the position in yesterday’s primary election.
Seidle-Patton, a one-time reporter for The Leader-Vindicator who now operates law offices in New Bethlehem and Clarion, topped long-time Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron of Limestone Township on both party ballots.
On the Republican side, Seidle-Patton captured 54 percent of voters to Aaron’s 39 percent. And on the Democratic ticket, Seidle-Patton garnered 53 percent of votes to Aaron’s 31 percent.
The three-way race for the judgeship also included current Clarion County public defender Erich Spessard who finished with 6.6 percent of the Republican vote and 14 percent of the Democratic vote.
With both major party nominations secured, it appears Seidle-Patton will take over from current Clarion County President Judge James Arner who plans to retire at the end of this year after serving two 10-year terms on the bench.
In the race for the district attorney seat being vacated by Aaron, Drew Welsh, currently the assistant district attorney, won the Republican nomination with 52 percent of the vote. His challenger, Maria Battista garnered 47 percent of Republican ballots. More than 570 write-in votes were recorded on the Democratic side of yesterday’s election; however, it was unknown as of press time who the winner of that party’s nomination is.
Sticking with the courts, incumbent District Judge Jeffrey “Zelmo” Miller breezed to re-election on both party ballots, topping challenger Michelle “Shelly” Ritzler 76 percent to 23 percent on the Republican side, and 66 percent to 32 percent on the Democratic side to secure both nominations.
Miller oversees District 18-3-04 which includes New Bethlehem, Rimersburg, East Brady and other southern Clarion County communities.
In the hotly contested race for the district judge post in District 18-3-03 based in Knox, Jarah Heeter appears to have won both party nominations. She captured nearly 38 percent on the Republican ticket, and 42 percent on Democratic ballots.
For Clarion County Commissioner, the three incumbents did well, with Republicans Wayne Brosius and Ted Tharan receiving their party’s nomination, and Ed Heasley receiving the Democratic nomination.
Brosius finished as the top voter-getter on the Republican side, finishing with 41 percent. Tharan ended the night with 34 percent and challenger Kirke Wise finished with 23 percent of the Republican vote.
Brosius, Tharan and Heasley will move on, along with a Democratic write-in winner that will be announced in the coming days. They will compete in November for the three commissioner positions with the county.
Incumbent Register and Recorder Greg Mortimer, incumbent Prothonotary Jeff Himes and incumbent Treasurer Tom McConnell, all Republicans, were unopposed on yesterday’s ballots.
Three names were on the two ballots yesterday for the three county auditor positions. Republicans Sue Leonard (54 percent) and Jolene Weaver Frampton (45 percent) will advance along with Democrat Pamela Zahoran.
In municipal races, only a handful of contested races could be found across the county. Locally, in the race for the Republican nomination for Redbank Township supervisor, challenger Kenneth Lee defeated incumbent Douglas Minich, 80 percent to 17 percent. Also, incumbent Sligo mayor Jeremy Shumaker secured the Republican nomination with 86 percent of the vote, fending off former mayor Susie Wyant who received 12 percent.
Voter turnout in Clarion County was at 41.6 percent.
Incumbents prevailed in yesterday’s primary elections in Armstrong County, as the current county commissioners, controller and treasurer all secured nominations to move on to the November general election.
In the race for county commissioner, incumbent Jason Renshaw and newcomer Don Myers secured the Republican nominations. Myers was the top Republican vote-getter with 27.47 percent of the vote while Renshaw was a close second with 27.17 percent. Greg McKelvey finished with 20 percent of the vote, while Deb Whiteman finished with 14 percent and Jorn Jenson with 9 percent.
On the Democratic side, incumbent Pat Fabian and Anthony G. Shea Jr. were the only two candidates and will move on to face Renshaw and Myers in the fall general election for the three county commissioner seats.
A Republican race for county controller saw incumbent Myra Miller win handily against the challenge from Billie Marconi-Kirkpatrick. Miller secured the nomination with 68 percent of the vote to Marconi-Kirkpatrick’s 31 percent. Miller will face Democrat Calvin Creighton in the general election.
Incumbent county treasurer Amanda Slagle-Hiles won the Republican nomination with 77 percent of the vote, fending off challenger Wendy Edmonds who received 22 percent. Slagle-Hiles will face Democrat Jean Stull in the general election.
As for municipal races in the northern section of the county, few choices were presented to area voters.
Among the only contested races in the primary was a supervisor race on the Republican ticket in Bradys Bend Township in which James Mortimer finished with 57 percent of the vote to William Guntrum’s 40 percent. Many of the municipal races had only one candidate, while the majority of positions had none and will be filled by a write-in vote winner.
In the special election for the area’s state Senate seat, Armstrong County voters largely favored Republican Joe Pittman who finished the night with 71 percent of the county’s vote to Democrat Susan Boser’s 28 percent. Pittman was the winner across the 41st Senatorial District as well, and will take over from retired state Sen. Don White (R-Indiana).
Voter turnout in Armstrong County was at 25.6 percent.
All results are unofficial until certified by county elections officials. Write-in winners will be listed in a future issue of The L-V.