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Candidates Downsized for Bradford County's 2011 Primary

What a difference four years make.

In the primary election campaign of 2007, there were as many as 13 Republicans and three Democrats announcing candidacies for Bradford County Commissioner in March of that year. This year there are three Republicans and two Democrats that will be on the May 17 Municipal Primary Ballot.

In 2007 there were three Republicans—Steve Evans, Greg Hostettler and Pat Savercool—vying for the job of Bradford County Sheriff. This year, Sheriff C.J. Walters is uncontested.

Oh, yes, and 2007 was also the year that Judge John Mott opted to run on the ballot as a yes-or-no retention. That decision was announced before the primary election season, but Mott did not face the voters until the Nov. 6 election, with disastrous results for the judge.

So is there anything to get excited about this year in terms of election drama? You could always count on the commissioner race to get sparks flying, but there are only three Republicans running for two slots on the November ballot: Doug McLinko, the incumbent, seeking re-election to his third four-year term, as well as Daryl Miller and Sharon Lowery. The three are from the Wysox, Wyalusing and the Sayre areas, respectively. Miller put in a strong showing in the 2007 primary among a crowded field from which McLinko and Chad Salsman emerged as the Republican nominees.

On the Democratic side, Mark Smith, the current chairman of the board of commissioners, is being challenged by Gene Osmun, who was a candidate for the job four years before. John Sullivan, a Democrat and the other incumbent commissioner, is not running for re-election. That means, barring a strong write-in effort from somebody, that both Smith and Osmun will be on the November ballot. Both are from the Sayre area.

The small field of candidates for commissioners provides nobody from the entire western half of Bradford County, thanks to the recent withdrawal of Troy's Don Fitzwater from the race (see article in this issue). Aside from the dearth of choices, there have been no issues raised as yet.

The only other incumbent facing a challenge in any other county elective office is Prothonotary Sally Vaughn, whose nomination is being contested by Michael Shultz, a Canton area resident. Vaughn has faced challengers before, including Gerard Zeller, an attorney, in 2007. All the rest are uncontested: Treasurer Becky Clark, District Attorney Dan Barrett, Sheriff C.J. Walters, Coroner Tom Carman and Register & Recorder Shirley Rockefeller, who is the senior department head on courthouse row by far as she seeks her eighth four-year term in that office.

There aren't even any challengers to the three incumbent auditors—Republicans Audrey Allen and Sally Storch and Democrat Jeff Warner—all of whom are running again.

Only one of the four Magisterial District Judges in Bradford County—Jonathan Wilcox in Troy—has a ballot challenger in a race where candidates are allowed to cross-file. Running against Wilcox will be Dennis M. Welch. The other three DJs are uncontested for another six-year term: Tim Clark, Towanda; Fred Wheaton, Wysox, and Michael Shaw, Sayre.

Municipal Offices

And School Boards

As has been the case in recent elections, there often are not enough candidates for the jobs available in borough, townships and on school boards. Wyalusing Borough, for example, has no candidates who have filed for council seats for the 2011 Primary. The council was reduced from seven to five members in 2003 and then found itself with two vacancies on that body for most of 2004. However, it is fairly common for people running for township boards and borough councils to run as write-ins in the November election.

The Wyalusing Area School Board has two of its members who will apparently not be seeking re-election—Tari Trowbridge and Crystal Hons—but two people have filed to run for those seats in Region 3, Jean Vande Mark and Barbara Prevost. Trowbridge was actually appointed to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Phil Swank. Incumbents seeking re-election will be Vincent Amoroso, Richard Robinson and Deborah Stethers, board president. Barbara Hugo, Brian Zeidner, Chad Salsman and Larry Franklin are not in the election cycle this year.

Looking around the townships within the school districts, incumbent supervisors who have filed for the primary are: Carl Yurgatis, Tuscarora; Arthur Allyn, Wyalusing; Kerry Detrick, Terry—all for six-year terms. In Herrick Township, Gregory Bacon has filed for a four-year term and Harry Camp, Jr. for a six-year term. There are no candidates who have filed in Stevens Township, but that is not unusual there, because incumbents are known to run as write-ins in the November election.

If you are looking for a real race to follow, it might be in Wysox Township where two people are challenging incumbent James D. Roof for a six-year term on the Republican ticket. The challengers are Kenneth Whipp and Jon Kulick, and it appears one of the big issues is health insurance coverage afforded the supervisors there. The other two supervisors are Bill Shoemaker and Gary Foster.

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