Municipal Election Results: Democrats sweep PA judicial races

Joanna Harlow
Online Editor
ejh1498@lhup.edu

Democrat Paul Conklin will join Republicans Pete Smeltz and Jeff Syner as the newest county commissioner. Commissioner Joel Long came in fourth and lost his place as third-term commissioner.

Bill Baney, photo from lock haven.com
Bill Baney, photo from lock haven.com

Unofficial results show that Bill Baney will most likely be the next mayor of Lock Haven.  Rick Conklin came in a close second and the unofficial tally shows that Baney and Conklin were separated by only 14 votes. The unofficial results for City Council show Democrat and LHU student, Sara Stringfellow, Republican Douglas T. Byerly and Bill Baney as probable winners. Baney defended his council seat while running for mayor.

Democrat Kerry Stover won against his opponent Ed Higgins yesterday for the seat of Clinton County Sheriff and Jennifer Hoy (R), who faced strong competition from her opponent Democrat Jason Walker, was elected to her first four-year term as Clinton County register and recorder.

Democrat Dave Strouse, a local attorney, defeated his Republican opponent, Frederick Lingle, in the race for district attorney. According to The Lock Haven Express, the unofficial vote count showed Strouse with 4,334 votes and Lingle with 2,978.

Photo from doughertyforpa.com
Photo from doughertyforpa.com

Three Supreme Court positions were also up for grabs Tuesday night. Voters have elected Democrats to all three state Supreme Court positions, giving Democrats the majority of 5 to 2. The Washington Post called the results “one of the biggest court shake-ups in recent history.” The justices elected, Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty and Superior Court judges, David Wecht and Christine Donohue, will not be up for re-election for 10 years.

Republicans control both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly as well as 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tuesday’s election might indicate that Democrats will take back the majority of U.S. congressional seats in next year’s elections.

Gov. Tom Wolf, in a written statement Tuesday, said the judicial results sent a clear message: “For the second time in the last year, the people of Pennsylvania have spoken at the ballot box and sent Harrisburg a message that they want fairness and change,” he said. “I hope those serving in state government have heard the message and will join me in fighting for change that benefits every Pennsylvanian.”

According to the US Census Bureau, young adult voters between the ages of 18 through 24 have voted at consistently lower rates than other age groups in every presidential election since 1962. The US Census Bureau’s voting data also shows that, on average, less than half of eligible young adult voters will actually make it to the polls for a national presidential election.

If they can find a way to connect, the student demographic presents an opportunity for politicians. Millennials are the largest and most racially diverse generation in the country’s history, making their vote valuable. By 2016, millennials will make up a third of the electorate according to Pew Research Center.  Students are highly encouraged to register before the presidential primaries.

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