Democrats sweep countywide races again; make gains in school boards, municipal races

By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times @mikemcgannpa

It took a bit of time to get results, but Chester County’s Democrats managed to squeak out a sweep of wins in the Row Office and Court of Common Pleas races in Tuesday’s elections. Although margins were close, county Democrats were able to buck national trends and make gains in district justice, school board and municipal races around the county.

Turnout was moderately high for an off-year election, with 38.24% of registered voters casting ballots, including about 40,000 by mail.

After counting the vast majority of 11,000 mail in ballots Wednesday, Democrats were able to overcome leads in many of the races to get victories.

In the Court of Common Pleas, Democrats Alita Rovito (27% of the vote) and Tony Verwey (24% of the vote) narrowly defeated Republicans Lou Mincarelli (23% of the vote) and PJ Redmond (23% of the vote).

Democratic incumbent County Treasurer Patricia Maisano held off Republican challenger Jennifer Nicolas by a 51-48% margin.

Democratic incumbent Controller Margaret Reif defeated Republican Regina Mauro by a 51-48% margin.

Yolanda Van de Krol, the incumbent Democratic Clerk of Courts, held off Republican Carmela Ciliberti, 52-47%.

Democrat Sophia Garcia-Jackson defeated Republican Frank Speidel for the open Coroner post; incumbent Dr. Christina VandePol announced earlier this year she would not seek a second term.

Democrats also fared well in the Magisterial District Justice races, winning all but one, Tuesday.

In District 15-1-01, Democrat Marc Lieberman held off Republican Mark Bruno, 51-48%. In 15-1-02, Democrat Mackenzie Smith edged Thomas Tartaglio, 50-49%. In District 15-1-07, Democrat Paige Simmons held off Republican Maria Varano McDowell, 50-49%. In District 15-4-01, Democrat Lauren Holt cruised to an easy win over Republican Gene Twardowski, 61-38%. In District 15-4-02, Democrat Ann Feldman edged Republican Jeffrey Valocchi, 50-49%.

In The Republicans’ lone judicial win, Matt Seavey held onto his 15-4-04 seat, holding off Democrat Bobby Brown, 53-44%.

Running unopposed, Democrat Gregory Hines won reelection in 15-1-03 and Democrat Marian Vito won in District 15-1-04.

Republicans fared a bit better in local school board races, although it appears Democrats were able to make gains in some areas.

In Avon Grove, Region 1, Democrat Ruchira Singh and Republican Mike Woodin held off Republican Lynn Weber and Democrat Bruce Belcher to win two seats. In Region 2, Republican Rick Dumont defeated Democrat Christina Manolescu. In Region 3, Democrat Bill Wood defeated Republican Michael Bruecks.

In the Coatesville Area School District, Democrat James Bookman ran unopposed for a Region 1 seat. In Region 2, Democrat Rachel Wick ran unopposed. In Region 3, Democrats Rob Fisher and Andrew Finkbohner ran unopposed.

In the hotly contested Downingtown Area School District races, Democrat Madhu Gurthy defeated Republican Christopher Phillips in Region 2. In Region 4, Republican Margie Miller defeated Democrat Rebecca Britton. In Region 6, Democrat LeeAnn Wisdom defeated Republican Greg Simotas. In Region 8, Republican Rachel Gibson defeated Democrat Mindy Ross.

In Great Valley, Democrats swept: in Region 1, Democrats Samantha Jouin and Andrea Rizzo defeated Alex Enderle and Lauren Dicranian; in Region 2, David Barratt ran unopposed; in Region 3, Democrat Tricia Bliven-Chasinoff Republican Sallie Campbell.

In The kennett Consolidated School District, Democrats fared well, also. Democrat Lenda Carrillo defeated Republican Heidi Sweetman in Region A; Jeff McVey ran unopposed in Region B and Democrats Vicki Gehrt and Mark Bowden defeated Republican Mike Keane.

In Octorara, Lisa Yelovich won Region 1 after running unopposed while Republican Jere Zimmerman defeated Samuel Ganow in Region 2 and Robert Matthew Hurley and Charles Koennecker Jr. ran unopposed in Region 3.

In the Owen J. Roberts School District, Democrats April Saboe, Rita Pederson and David Harmanos and Republican Daniel Dougherty won At Large seats over Republicans Leslie Profit, Sarah Black and Heather McCreary and Democrat Michelle Mayfield Frees.

In Oxford, Republicans swept the school board races. In Region 1, Republican Kristen Dean defeated Democrat Eric Dean; in Region 2, Republican William Kloss defeated Democrat Amy Jones and in Region 3, Republican Mike Blessington defeated Democrat Jenifer Warren.

In Phoenixville, four Democrats Caitlyn Carminito, Susan Turner, Victoria Walker and Scott Overland defeated the lone Republican, Emily Shanley for the four At Large seats on the school board.

In the Spring-Ford School District, Democrats Abby Deardorff and Erica Hermans held off Republicans Tom Dibello and Tom McMonigle for two Region 3 seats.

In the hotly contested and contentious Tredyffrin-Easttown School District races, Democrats swept. In Region 1, Democrat Yolanda Allen defeated Republican Leslie Allen; in Region 2, Democrat Robert Singh defeated Republican Deana Wang and in Region 3, Democrats Maryann Piccioni and Susan Audrain held off Republicans Bill Nolan and Rachel Kill.

In Twin Valley Regional School District, Gary McEwen ran unopposed in Region 3, while Republicans Tracy Phillips and Jay Oliver defeated Democrats Sandra Deemer and Colleen Yenser.

In the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District Races, all four seats were run unopposed. In region A, Jeff Hellrung and Elise Anderson won reelection. In Region B, Republicans Mabel Yu and Steven Simonson were elected.

In The West Chester Area School District Races — again, another hotly contested race — Democrat Joyce Chester defeated Republican Ada Nestor in Region 1; Democrat Karen Fleming defeated Republican Brian Fleming in Region 2 and Democrat Laura Detre and Republican Stacey Whomsley defeated Democrat Carrie Stare and Republican incumbent board President Chris McCune.

In local municipal elections, a few races of note:

In Avondale, Democrat Susan Rzucidlo won election as the borough’s mayor, as Democrats also swept the Borough Council elections.

In one of the closest races in the county Democrat Bruce Laverty defeated Republican Maria Kenney by two votes for supervisor in East Bradford.

In Easttown, Democrats Erik Unger and Alex Bosco squeaked to victory over Republicans Jay Jennings and Alessandra Nicolas for Township Supervisor.

In Kennett Township, Republican Geoffrey Gamble knocked off incumbent Democrat Whitney Hoffman for Township Supervisor.

Lillian DeBaptiste, a Democrat, won election as Mayor of West Chester.

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