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GOP County Commissioner hopefuls await vote tally

September 17, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

For four Republican candidates in the race for Washington County Commissioner, Tuesday's primary election hasn't ended.

All four, including incumbent Commissioner John S. Shank, finished close enough in the voting that the outcome of the race will be determined when absentee ballots are counted today.

Only two of the four candidates will make it onto the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

As they prepared for their political fates to be decided, none of the candidates confessed to feeling nervous, nor were they pacing the floor in anticipation.

"I'm not going to sweat it out. It's been out of my hands since Monday night. There's nothing I can do now," said Clinton H. Wiley, in seventh place after votes were counted Tuesday.

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"Whatever happens it's the general public's choice," said Shank.

When all the primary election votes are counted, the top-five vote-getters in both the Democratic and Republican parties will appear on the general election ballot, along with Independent candidate Bert L. Iseminger Jr., who did not have to run in the primary.

The five top vote-getters in general election balloting will win County Commissioners seats.

The top-three vote-getters in the Republican primary garnered enough votes to be assured places on the general election ballot. The next four highest vote-getters were within 54 votes of each other. They include: Shank, with 3,093 votes; retired county employee Mary L. Kline, with 3,081 votes; retired postmaster John C. Munson, with 3,056 votes; and Wiley, who owns an Internet business, with 3,039 votes.

With 312 Republican absentee ballots in the county, the four candidates could see their positions in the standings fall or rise when the county election board starts counting the absentee ballots at 10 a.m.

Munson, like Wiley and Kline a first-time candidate, said he feels he has a chance to move up into fourth or fifth place overall.

"It's hard to say. I'm going to pick up some (votes), but I don't know if I can pick up enough," he said.

"At least if I don't make it, I know I worked my rear end off," Munson added.

Shank, running for a third County Commissioner term, said he feels he can hold onto his slim lead - in part because his campaign made a point of contacting absentee voters prior to the election.

"I usually work the absentee ballots pretty closely," he said.

Kline said she was excited and surprised that she has done as well as she had. She said she doesn't know if absentee ballots will keep her in fifth place.

"If that's where I'm supposed to be, fine, but if not, I'm not going to cry in my Kool-Aid," she said.

The top three GOP vote-getters were incumbent Gregory I. Snook, John P. Corderman and William J. Wivell.

On the Democratic ballot, Sue Tuckwell was the top vote-getter, followed by Paul. L. Swartz, Linda C. Irvin-Craig, John L. Schnebly and incumbent Ronald L. Bowers.

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