Contested Commissioners Charge Ahead

Kristi Pronovost The Merit Shop Advocacy Blog, The Merit Shop Spokesman Blog

By Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

Every county within the Keystone region is controlled by two Republican county commissioners and one Democrat. So when there is political contention, it’s usually inter-party squabbles between factions of the Republican party. And those fissures usually are most evident in off-year elections like this year.

In York County, incumbent Republican Susan Wheeler opted out of running for re-election with Chris Reilly, who has served as a York County Commissioner for more than 20 years. In the end, however, Reilly fell in a stunning upset, propelling two newcomers in Ron Smith and Julie Wheeler. Smith and Wheeler will face Democrats Doug Hoke and Judith Higgens in the fall for two of the three commissioner seats.

In Lebanon County, inter-party warring turned exceptionally ugly with the Lebanon County Republican Committee supported a newcomer over incumbent Bill Ames, who is also an ABC member. Weeks prior to the election, state legislators rallied behind Ames, rebuking the claims by the Republican Committee and its chair, Casey Long. And this week, Ames and his crew prevailed, heading into November for a shot at a third term as Lebanon County Commissioner. Recently, Ames and his Republican colleague both voted in support an ordinance to prohibit the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) in the county, a move that was heralded by ABC.

Finally, in Lancaster County, Republican Josh Parsons found himself running with a new mate after the retirement of fellow Dennis Stuckey. Parsons chose non-profit executive Ray D’Agostino as his running mate, but met Doug Brubaker in the Republican primary. Brubaker, also an ABC member, did not receive the endorsement of the county Republican party, but doubled down on his fiscally conservative, pragmatic agenda. While Parsons came away as the highest vote-getter, D’Agostino managed to best Brubaker by roughly 4,000 votes securing the Republican team heading into November.

For complete election results, visit https://electionreturns.pa.gov/.

May 22, 2019