Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg affirms Democrats for school board, council; Republican incumbents again sweep Dauphin County

Campaign signs dot the entryway to Harrisburg city hall, which also served as the new Ward 4 polling station.

Harrisburg voters completed the replacement of the school board on Tuesday and returned three incumbents to City Council in a general election that held few surprises for city voters.

With no Republicans running, the Democratic nominees claimed all five school board seats with only nominal opposition. Douglas Thompson Leader, Gerald Welch, James Thompson, Jayne Buchwach and Steve Williams all will serve four-year terms on the board.

Ralph Rodriguez, who mounted a write-in campaign after coming up short in May’s crowded Democratic primary, failed to take a seat in Tuesday’s general election. All write-in candidates together received just 1 percent of the vote in the school board race.

Next month, the five victors will be sworn in as new school board directors. However, their ability to make policy will be limited due to the appointment in June of Dr. Janet Samuels as the district’s receiver.

Under the receivership, the elected school board has been stripped of power except for the ability to levy taxes. Since her appointment, Samuels has run the district largely by decree.

For City Council, Democratic incumbents Westburn Majors, Dave Madsen and Danielle Bowers all will return for four-year terms after facing no Republican opposition in the general election. Majors and Madsen were re-elected, while Bowers won her first competitive seat after appointment last year to fill an opening on council.

Incumbent Treasurer Dan Miller, running unopposed, was re-elected to his position.

Races in Dauphin County were more competitive.

Voters returned all three incumbent commissioners to office, but the race was close for much of the evening. In the end, Republicans Jeff Haste (28,080 votes) and Mike Pries (26,560 votes) and Democrat George Hartwick (25,928 votes) each were re-elected to four-year terms. Democratic challenger Diane Bowman came in fourth place with 22,026 votes.

As usual, Republican incumbents won all the row offices in Dauphin County, but several races proved to be competitive.

For clerk of courts, incumbent Dale Klein defeated challenger Brad Koplinski by a tally of 27,147 to 24,326.

For register of wills, Jean Marfizo King topped Democratic challenger Bridget Whitley by a margin of 27,725 to 23,733.

In the recorder of deeds race, Republican incumbent Jim Zugay won another term, defeating Democrat Cole Goodman by a vote of 27,869 to 23,506.

For county treasurer, incumbent Janis Creason prevailed over Democratic challenger Tim Butler by a 27,947 to 23,392 margin.

Several Republican incumbents ran unopposed and will return to office. These include District Attorney Fran Chardo, Sheriff Nick Chimienti and Controller Timothy DeFoor.

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