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Central Pennsylvania 2013 Primary Elections

11438596-largeIt may be called an “off-year,” but the 2013 elections present crucial choices for central Pennsylvania.

Voters will be asked to weigh in on municipal, school board, and county races in the Mary 21 primary.

Let’s put it more directly: voters will choose the people who set their property tax rates, oversee area schools and decide if new housing developments or shopping centers are built across the street. Voters will decide who gets to serve as judges on county benches.

So there are plenty of reasons to pay attention to these races and vote.

Here’s another: Turnout for local elections pales in comparison to presidential races. So a relatively number of people can decide the outcome of these contests.

Candidates had to file petitions to get on the primary ballot earlier this week.

If you’re not registered to vote, go to the state’s elections website to get information on how to make your vote count.

Here’s a quick snapshot of key races, along with links to stories on the contests:

Harrisburg Mayor’s Race: Mayor Linda Thompson is running for re-election and she’s engaged in a four-way race for the Democratic nomination. Thompson is finishing her first term after unseating Stephen Reed in 2009. City controller Dan Miller, Eric Papenfuse, owner of the Midtown Scholar, and city resident Lewis Butts Jr. are challenging Thompson in the primary. Nevin Mindlin is running as an independent.

Harrisburg City Council: Ten Democrats are running for four seats on the council. All the candidates are listed as Democrats, so the primary contest could well decide who holds the seats.

Harrisburg School Board: Another contest with a host candidates: Ten candidates are among those aiming to fill seven seats on the board.

Dauphin County: Five candidates are running for an open judicial seat on the county bench. Republican Fran Chardo, First Assistant District Attorney, Democrat Anne Gingrich  Cornick, former chief deputy public defender for Dauphin County, and  Republican Bill Tully, a former first assistant prosecutor for Dauphin  County, are all cross-filed in the race. The winner will replace  retiring Judge Lawrence F. Clark.

Among several interesting local races: Four people are vying to replace outgoing Middletown Mayor Robert Reid, and several candidates are running for open seats in Lower Paxton and Swatara townships.

Cumberland County: Among a host of spirited local and school board contests, the Carlisle mayor’s race could be one of the most intriguing. Mayor William Kronenberg, who was appointed last year to replace Kirk Wilson, and challenger Don Smith are vying for the GOP nomination. Democrat Timothy Scott, who is currently vice president of borough council, is unopposed for his party’s nomination.

School board races in Cumberland County figure to be compelling contests.

Carlisle, Camp Hill and East Pennsboro school districts each feature seven candidates aiming for four seats. In Cumberland Valley, four candidates are running for two seats.

York County: Judicial races aren’t always considered hot contests, but the election for a spot on the bench should have some heat. Judge Michael Flannelly, a Republican, who in July was appointed by Gov. Tom Corbett to fill the seat of the late-Judge Chuck Patterson, is running to keep the seat. His challenger? Former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, a Republican who spent 12 years in Congress.

York Mayor Kim Bracey is up for re-election for another four-year term, and two candidates are challenging her in the primary: York City Council President Carol Hill-Evans and businessman Joe Beltrante.

Booze in Dillsburg: Voters in the primary will be asked if they want to keep Dillsburg dry, or if they want to allow alcohol sales.

Lebanon County: District Attorney David Arnold is being challenged by Elizabeth Judd in the GOP primary. The Annville-Cleona and Northern Lebanon school boards both feature contested races.

Perry County: Marysville and Rye Twp. offer contested races.

Special State House contest: The primary will feature a special election to fill a state House seat in York County (the 95th District). The vacancy was created when former Rep. Eugene DePasquale was elected auditor general. So far, three candidates are in the running; candidates have until April 1 to file their applications with the state. The district include the city of York, West Manchester Township and other nearby suburbs.

– Published by the Patriot News March 15, 2013

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