Log In

Reset Password

2019 general election: Republicans win every contested race in Carbon

Carbon County’s Republican county candidates rode a wave of victory in Tuesday’s general election, winning every contested race, including sending two Democratic incumbents to defeat.

In addition to electing two of the three commissioners and a new district attorney, the Republicans dethroned longtime Prothonotary Joann Behrens, a 40-year-veteran of the office, and also changed direction in the Clerk of Courts office, defeating Fran Heaney, who took over the office in 2018 after embattled William C. McGinley retired only to be later found he had stolen thousands of dollars from the office.

The big winners were first-time candidates Kayla Semmel and Tyra Boni, who won four-year terms as prothonotary and clerk of courts, respectively.

“It’s very exciting,” Semmel said. “I’m very grateful for all the support I had.”

Also recording huge victories were Republican Donna L. Gentile, who defeated Democrat Bill Richards for the four-year term as recorder of deeds, and GOP member Mark Sverchek, who outdistanced Democrat Thomas J. McCall Jr. for the four-year term as controller.

In the prothonotary’s race, Semmel won by a vote of 7,605 to 7,123.

“I’d like to thank all the voters; I will not let the residents of Carbon County down,” she said. “I’d like to thank Joann Behrens; she ran a very good campaign.”

The Boni-Heaney race was razor-thin close, with Boni, currently the first assistant register of wills, winning by a vote of 7,298 to 7,172.

Gentile defeated Richards by a difference of 8,330 to 6,407. Richards was named by the Democratic Party to take the ballot position won by the late Emmett P. McCall, who passed away prior to the primary election but still won his party’s nomination.

The controller’s balloting showed Sverchek winning by a vote of 8,193 to 6,580.

“I’m just thrilled that the voters chose me to be the next controller based on my qualifications and experience to serve the residents of Carbon County,” Sverchek said. “I am very pleased with the results, and will do my utmost to serve the residents of the county with honesty, integrity, and high ethical standards.”

There were also two unopposed Democrats on Tuesday’s county ballot. Sheriff Tony Harvilla was unopposed and won his second four-year term with 13,484 complimentary votes as a candidate on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, and Coroner Robert W. Miller Jr. also won his second four-year term. He too appeared on both ballots, for which he garnered 13,471 token votes.

Meanwhile, the county voters participated in statewide balloting for two 10-year terms on the Pennsylvania Superior Court. There too, the GOP candidates were winners in the county, with Megan McCarthy King leading the way with 7,746 votes, followed by party member Christylee Peck with 6,924. Democrats Daniel D. McCaffery and Amanda Green-Hawkins finished third and fourth in the county, respectively, with 4,837 and 4,347 votes.

With 96 percent of the state precincts counted as of this morning, McCaffery and McCarthy King are leading that balloting.

Carbon voters also voted on five judicial retention questions, including voting 10,366 to 2,229 to retain Carbon Judge Steven R. Serfass for a second 10-year term in the county’s Court of Common Pleas.

The county was part of statewide balloting for the other four retention questions, the results of which were: 8,209 to 3,139 to retain Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus; 8,313 to 2,979 to retain Superior Court Judge Judy Olson; 8,072 to 3,044 to retain Commonwealth Court Judge Kevin Bobson and 8,463 to 2,748 to retain Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough.

Winning candidates Mark Sverchek and Kayla Semmel watch as Carbon County Commissioner Wayne Nothstein cuts a cake Tuesday night. TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS