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Democrats Sweep Borough Council, County Commissioner Elections

by on November 03, 2015 11:30 PM
State College, PA

It was a near sweep for the Democrats in the two big races for State College residents: the borough council and the county commissioners.

Here are the results from Election Day.


In the former race, incumbent Catherine Dauler and newcomers Janet Engeman, David J. Brown, and Jesse Barlow pulled off a strong victory, as Republican candidate Ron Madrid fell well short of challenging them. 

At publishing time, with 90 of 91 precincts reporting, Brown had pulled in the most votes with 2,267, followed by Dauler with 2,264 votes, Barlow with 2,143 votes, and Engeman with 2,055 votes. Madrid finished fifth with 1,294 votes.

This is another disappointing loss for Madrid in the borough, as he fell short to incumbent mayor Elizabeth Goreham in 2013, trailing by over 600 votes. While he stressed bipartisanship in this campaign and didn't feel that parties should have a real impact on local elections, it seems as though just that occurred, especially considering that all five candidates ran on very similar platforms that focused on fixing the budget crisis.

The new borough council members replace council president James Rosenberger and Peter Morris, who have hit term limits, as well as Sarah Klinetob, who chose not to run for reelection. Dauler was reelected to her spot on the board. The four will be joined by current board members Theresa Lafer, Thomas Daubert, and Evan Myers.



The county commissioner board will see a minor shakeup. One of the three incumbents, Republican commissioner Chris Exarchos, lost his seat, finishing fourth out of five candidates vying for the three open seats. 

Incumbent Michael Pipe (D) and newcomer Mark Higgins (D) were the two highest vote-earners, while incumbent Republican Steve Dershem finished third. Independent Todd Kirsten came in fifth, falling far behind the other four candidates.


In a special election for a judge seat on the Court of Common Pleas in Centre County, which comes after Bradley Lunsford decided to retire, Katie Oliver (D) edged out Ron McGlaughlin (R). Oliver pulled in 14,582 votes to McGlaughlin's 13,047.

On the state level, the three Democrats running for Supreme Court won the three seats. David Wecht, Kevin Dougherty, and Christine Donouhue took the three seats on the Supreme Court, handily defeating Republicans Judith Olson, Anne Covey, and Michael George, with Independent Judicial Alliance candidate Paul Panepinto coming in as a distant seventh.

In the Superior Court judge race, Alice Dubow (D) defeated Emil Giordano (D). And in the Commonwealth Court judge race, Michael Wojcik (D) beat out Paul Lalley (R).



As for the rest of the county positions, a number of candidates ran unopposedto win their seats. That incudes controller Charles L. Witmer, treasurer Richard A. Fornicola, prothonotary Debra C. Immel, coroner Scott Sayers, and district judge Thomas Jordan.

Republican Bryan Sampsel defeated Matthew Rickard (D) to earn the role of county sheriff. Republican Joseph Davidson also won his election bid, defeating Bennett Giorgiann (D) to become the recorder of deeads. Christine Millinder (R) beat Amanda McCartney (D) to earn a seat as register of wills.

And there are no surprises here, considering that five candidates ran for five seats, but all five StateCollege area school district board candidates were elected. Amber Concepcion, the current board president, and Laurel Zydney, were reeleted and will be joined by newcomers Daniel Duffy, Amy Bader, and Gretchen Brandt.


Stay tuned for more election news on Wednesday, including candidate reactions and a breakdown of what these results mean for the borough and county.

Zach Berger is the managing editor of He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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