Field set for Tuesday’s primary election

By on May 10, 2017



It may be hard to believe that it’s been six months since our last election as public discussion rages on about the November race.

Certainly this Tuesday’s primary elections lack the mass appeal of the presidential battle or even the April 2016 primary elections when the Ephrata Review’s headline read: “Outsiders Trump and Sanders win here.”

Noelle Fortna

Noelle Fortna

In Pennsylvania’s closed primary system, only voters who are registered Republican or Democrat are permitted to nominate candidates.

Perhaps the most interesting primary contest is the GOP battle for a spot on the East Cocalico Township Board of Supervisors. That contest pits incumbent Noelle Fortna against new-comer Romao Carrasco.

Romano Carrasco

Romano Carrasco

Fortna, 49, who is seeking her fourth term as East Cocalico supervisor, had served on the planning commission for several years before joining the board in 2004.

She won reelection to six-year terms twice after supervisors appointed Fortna to the three-person board to fill the vacated seat of Clyde Kulp.

Carrasco, also 49, in February received the endorsement of the Cocalico Area Republican Committee for the post of East Cocalico supervisor.

Carrasco and his family have lived in the area 16 years and call Quail Hollow home. He has municipal water authority experience and is a self-employed construction and real estate developer.

Fortna said she’s worked with the board to keep taxes down and encouraged business growth.

Carrasco said his business experience will help lead on township issues, such as regional police negotiations and township land deals.

Fortna said unfunded mandates from the State is one of the greatest challenge facing East Cocalico going forward especially the costly MS4 mandates that impose stricter and more expensive regulations put in place by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

“The Township will be spending a lot of money to meet the regulations,” Fortna said. “There seems to be a never-ending list of new regulations imposed without financial backing to help meet it.”

Richard Gehman

Richard Gehman

She also added it’s important East Cocalico Supervisors “keep our residents informed and dispel any issues with transparency.”

Carrasco noted the two great challenges facing East Cocalico are financial and limited transparency.

East Cocalico supervisors came under fire when the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office reviewed and investigated citizen reports of alleged Sunshine Act violations stemming from actions taken by the supervisors in hiring a township manager.

David Wissler

David Wissler

Tim Stayer

Tim Stayer

However District Attorney Craig Stedman on May 5 announced his office’s investigation into the matter determined the board “did not breach any Sunshine Act law nor did their actions show intent to do so.”

Still Carrasco said the transparency challenge must be immediately addressed as a critical first step needed “in order to move forward as a community and mend relationships within neighboring communities.”

Phil Eby

Phil Eby

Glenn R. Martin

Glenn R. Martin

“More involvement from our community should be welcomed as we have many community members who have much to contribute,” he said.

In other primary ballots:

There will be new faces joining local government and the school board in the Ephrata area come November, but there are no contested primary races.

Republicans seeking four-year terms school board are incumbents Timothy W. Stayer and Glenn R. Martin who complete the ticket with new-comers Philip L. Eby and David A. Wissler.

On the Democratic ballot is Suzanne M. Delahunt, along with Glenn R. Martin who cross-filed on both the Democratic and GOP ballots.

Richard Gehman, who is also cross-filed, is seeking election to a two-year term.

Gehman joined the board a year ago, replacing Neal Reichard, who resigned March 29, 2016. Reichard was elected in November 2015, and his four-year term would have ended in 2019.

There are two open spots on the board as Jenny Miller and Robert Miller are not seeking reelection.

  • There is an open seat on Ephrata Township Board of Supervisors as Tony Haws is running unopposed on the GOP ballot to replace incumbent John L. Weber, who is not seeking reelection.

Republican Jay R. Snyder is on the ballot running for Ephrata Township auditor.

  • Ephrata Borough Council GOP candidates are 1st-Ward incumbents Gregory S. Zimmerman and Thomas G. Reinhold. Susan E. Rowe in the 2nd Ward, and Victor E. Richard in the 4th Ward .

Democratic incumbent Tim L. Barr is running for reelection in the 3rd Ward.

  • Running on the Akron Borough Council ballot are Republicans Keith Landis, Darryl L. Witmer, Thomas J. Murray, and Monica R. Hersh.

Mayor John H. McBeth is also up for re-election this year and is running unopposed.

There is a referendum question on the Akron ballot that asks: “Do you favor the issuance of licenses to conduct small games of chance in the Borough of Akron?”

The Akron volunteer fire company hopes to use small games of chance for fundraising purposes.

  • In Clay Township, Republican A. Keith Martin seeks re-election to the board of supervisors. Also on the GOP ballot are Timothy G. Horst who is running for auditor and Debra A. Zerbe, seeking the tax collector position.
  • Judge Tony S. Russell is cross-filed and the only candidate running for magisterial district judge.
  • Lititz resident Jeff Conrad, who earned the Republican Committee of Lancaster County’s endorsement over three local attorneys, is the lone candidate for Court of Common Pleas judge.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman is one of 10 candidates vying for four open seats on the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

The 52-year-old Manheim Township resident is among four Republicans who received an endorsement from the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in February.

There are five Republicans and five Democrats seeking nominations for the four seats. The four winners in each party’s primary will face each other in the November general election.

  • Four Republicans are seeking spots on the Cocalico School Board. Incumbents Douglas Graybill and Richard W. Brenner are joined by new-comers James H. Kidwell Jr. and Lin Sensenig on the GOP primary ballot.
  • On the Adamstown ballot for borough council are Republicans David R. Matz, Randy Good, and Mark Bansner. Mayor Dean M. Johnson is running unopposed on the GOP ballot.
  • In Denver Borough, Mayor Rodney Redcay is on the GOP ballot along with borough council candidates Jason South, Matthew R. Stover, Christopher D. Flory, and Dan Rogers.

Democrat Kalie Joann Johnson is also seeking a spot on Denver Borough Council.

  • In West Cocalico James Stoner, a Republican incumbent, is running unopposed for a third term on the board of supervisors. Also on the GOP ballot is supervisor Leon Z. Eby and Nicole F. Shipton, who is running for auditor.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and a staff writer for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at or at 721-4455.


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