The complexion of municipal election races for the General Election to be held in November took a different look than what Primary Election voting machine totals showed last month, as several persons were successful in write-in ventures that has resulted in them winning nominations for various positions.
Thus, in some cases where there were no contested races, there now appears to be contests, and, in some cases, where there were no candidates, now someone has likely won the soon-to-be-vacant positions by winning both Democratic and Republican nominations.
That appears to be the case in Lehighton Borough, where retiring Mayor Donald Rehrig's four-year term is expiring and there were no candidates from either party in the Primary Election.
Thomas Mase, former Jim Thorpe chief of police and now a resident of the borough, appears to be the likely successor to Rehrig, as Mase won both party nominations via the write-in method. He garnered 59 Democratic votes and 35 Republican votes to win the places on both ballots.
To win a nomination, a person must receive at least 10 write-in votes and must outpoll anyone else meeting that requirement. According to unofficial (yet to be certified by the county's board of elections) results of the tabulation of write-in votes, Mase was one of 13 persons winning Democratic nominations and 24 others winning GOP nominations, although in that party there is a tie to be broken.
That is the situation in Nesquehoning Borough, where Democratic Mayor K. Tony Walck won that party's nomination and also received 19 write-in votes from the Republicans. Another candidate Michael Frey, also received 19 write-in votes, meaning the tie will have to be broken by a process to be determined by the board of elections, which has scheduled Friday, June 7, as the date in which that process will take place. If Walck wins the tie-breaker, he will appear on both ballots in November. If Frey wins, the two candidates will square off in the General Election.
Meanwhile, Mahoning Township Supervisor John Wieczorek, who did not intend to run for re-election to a six-year term that expires this year, was the recipient of sufficient write-in votes from both parties and his name will appear on the two ballots in the fall. He received 24 Republican votes and 34 Democratic votes to win the nominations.
There are six-year terms of office up for grabs in the fall. James Holland, a Democrat, passed away after he was the lone candidate within his party. He won the nomination along with Wieczorek, but the Democratic Party will likely appoint someone to take that place on the ballot. There were no Republican candidates. In addition to Wieczorek winning a GOP bid, Matthew E. Ehrig was also successful in obtaining sufficient write-in votes. He won the nomination with Wieczorek with 16 write-in votes.
In Penn Forest Township, a race for the four-year term as tax collector is now in place, thanks to Josiah "Cy" Behrens winning the Democratic nomination. The longtime tax collector in the township, Barbara Ahner, opted not to seek re-election. No one filed to get their name on the Democratic ballot while the lone GOP candidate is Heidi Boise. Behrens collected 56 write-in votes and will now face Boise in a head-to-head matchup in the fall for the right to succeed Ahner.
Towamensing Township will also have a contested race in November. Supervisor Penny Kleintop's six-year term is expiring and prior to May she was the only candidate, gaining complimentary votes in winning a GOP nomination. Former supervisor Rodney George, however, collected 21 write-in votes from the Democrats and won that nomination and the right to face Kleintop.
For more information on successful write-in votes in other Carbon County municipalities, see the related story in today's TIMES NEWS.