Pa. 1997 general election results

November 06, 1997

Chambersburg mayoral race

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Incumbent Mayor Robert Morris comfortably held onto his seat, winning a fourth term in Tuesday's general election over Republican opponent Douglas Niemond.

Morris, a Democrat, won with 1,679 votes over Niemond's 1,243, according to unofficial totals Wednesday.

"I'm disappointed, naturally. But he's the incumbent. He's very popular. I have to congratulate him for winning," Niemond said.

The mayoral race was the only contested race in the borough. The four-year term mayor primarily oversees the borough's police department.

Niemond, retired after more than 34 years as superintendent of recreation for the borough and four years as Franklin County commissioner, ran a campaign focusing on state statistics that rank Chambersburg second in Pennsylvania for the highest violent crime rate per capita.


But the campaign effort didn't deflect from the improvements made to the police department since Morris has been in office, including the addition of four new officers, a motorcycle unit, a bicycle patrol, equestrian patrol, emergency response team and video cameras in the police cruisers.

Morris could not be reached for comment.

Mercersburg mayor, borough council

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Write-in candidate Harold Wagner won the seat for mayor of Mercersburg in Tuesday's election, defeating two other write-in candidates, Stanley Kneiss and Councilman Thomas Suddeth.

Wagner won the seat with 188 votes to Kneiss' 39 and Suddeth's 40, according to unofficial election totals.

Incumbent Mayor Thomas Ralston Sr., whose name was on the ballot but who said he did not want to serve another term, got 52 votes.

Borough Council incumbent Judith Gossert was ousted by write-in candidate Thomas Heefner, 221 to 137, according to unofficial totals.

Unopposed Council President Robert Brindle, seeking his sixth term, won with 228 votes.

Unopposed incumbent Richard Rice won a second term with 255 votes and newcomer Roger Defibaugh was elected with 240 votes.

Greene Township supervisor

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - In a close race, incumbent Greene Township Supervisor Paul Ambrose won a second six-year term in Tuesday's election and the assurance that the fight against building Exit 7 on Interstate 81 will continue.

"I think the majority of voters expressed their confidence in my policy and the policies of the board," Ambrose said.

Ambrose won the seat by 165 votes, with 1,518 to Democratic opponent Douglas Harbach's 1,353, according to unofficial election totals.

The township hasn't had a hike in its real estate taxes in 19 years and no township per capita tax in more than six years, both of which Ambrose said he believes also influenced voters.

Ambrose led the fight against building Exit 7, an issue that's split the township north of Chambersburg since the state first proposed it in 1987.

Local business owner Harbach, who favors building the exit, ran a campaign targeting the taxpayers' money spent by the supervisors fighting the issue.

He recently set up two billboards that state, "Stop the waste! Our Greene Township funds spent opposing Exit 7," showing the latest tax dollars spent on the issue totaling $627,507.

"Outside of winning, everything we wanted to accomplish was accomplished. We brought everything to the forefront and I think we'll see a more aware Greene public," Harbach said.

Harbach won 47 percent of the vote. Only 40 percent of Greene Township's registered voters are Democrats, he said.

Washington Township

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - In Washington Township's only contested race, incumbent supervisor Paul Benchoff beat Democratic opponent Shirley Grove in Tuesday's general election.

Benchoff, a Republican, secured his third six-year term with 1,020 votes to Grove's 822, according to unofficial results.

Grove, a former township secretary who served as a supervisor for nine years after her 1976 election, ran a campaign targeting the township's finances and spending on lawsuits. She also focused on regionalizing township services like the police department and water and sewer.

Past chairman of the board of supervisors, Benchoff now sits on the transfer/recycling committee and the roads and streets committee. He also represents the township on the tax bureau and serves as chairman of the Washington Township Municipal Authority.

In his third term, Benchoff said he wants to continue developing the township's recycling center and the recently acquired Pine Hill recreation area, upgrading Red Run Park and overseeing highway and road improvements.

Tuscarora Board of Education

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Voters elected four new members to the Tuscarora School District Board of Education, ousting incumbent Giancarlo "John" Angelini, current president.

Elected to the board were Jeffrey Spidel, a manager at Grove Worldwide, with 2,224 votes; Janice Hawbaker, an attorney, with 2,183 votes; Jane Rice, a registered nurse, with 2,110 votes; and Roger Price, a supervisor in the lumber industry, with 2,021 votes, according to unofficial election results.

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