Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg Democrats to weigh crowded primary field for city council, school board

This year’s municipal primary looks to be a hot one in Harrisburg, as Democratic voters face a crowded field for both City Council and school board.

Tuesday was the deadline for handing in nomination petitions, and numerous candidates filed, according to the Dauphin County Bureau of Elections & Voter Registration.

For council, three, four-year seats are up for grabs.

Three sitting council members have turned in nomination petitions: Danielle Bowers, Dave Madsen and Westburn Majors. This is the first contested race for Bowers, who was appointed last year to fill an open seat following the departure of former Councilman Cornelius Johnson.

The Democratic incumbents will face three challengers in the primary: Christina Kostelecky of Midtown, Brianna Smith of Midtown and Dionna Reeves of North Allison Hill.

No Republican candidates filed to run for council.

In the very crowded primary race for Harrisburg school board, 12 Democratic candidates will vie for five, four-year seats. These include current school board directors Lionel Gonzalez, Lola Lawson, Ellis R. Roy and Patricia Whitehead-Myers, and eight challengers: Jayne Buchwach, Lewis Butts Jr., Ralph Rodriguez, James Thompson, Doug Thompson Leader, Gerald Welch, Cory X. Williams and Steven Williams.

No one filed to run in the Republican primary.

In the only other city race, incumbent Treasurer Dan Miller is seeking re-election for a four-year term. He is unchallenged in the Democratic primary, and no candidate filed to run in the Republican primary.

On the county level, incumbents Jeff Haste and Mike Pries are running for re-election unopposed in the Republican primary for commissioner. On the Democratic side, incumbent George Hartwick and challengers Diane Bowman and Tom Connolly are running for the two Democratic slots.

For other county offices, all of the Republican incumbents have no competition in the primary: District Attorney Fran Chardo, Sheriff Nick Chimienti, Clerk of Courts Dale Klein, Recorder of Deeds Jim Zugay, Treasurer Janis Creason, Controller Timothy DeFoor and Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court Jean Marfizo King.

On the Democratic side, Cole Goodman has filed for Recorder of Deeds, Tim Butler is running for Treasurer, Brad Koplinski is running for Clerk of Courts and Bridget Whitley has filed for Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans’ Court. All are unopposed in the primary.

This list is regarded as preliminary pending possible challenges to nomination petitions, which sometimes knocks candidates off of the ballot.

The primary election is on May 21. The winners will continue on to the general election, which is Nov. 5.

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