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Franklin incumbents win

November 03, 1999

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

Photo by JOE CROCETTA / Staff Photographer


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - It was clear with 52 of 75 precincts reporting late Tuesday that the three incumbent Franklin County Commissioners would be re-elected and that Jeff Conner would succeed his retiring boss as the new county coroner.

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The results of other elections across the county, from school board to township supervisor and borough council, were too close to call.

The voter turnout was not available Tuesday night, but it was expected to be slightly higher than officials had predicted considering the inclement weather.

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High winds across the county knocked down trees and caused the electricity to go out in two precincts, election workers said. It was dark for 10 minutes in Shippensburg's West End precinct until the emergency lights came on. There were no lights for 80 minutes in the Church of the Transfiguration, where voters in Blue Ridge Summit cast their ballots. They lighted candles there, said precinct worker Mary Rae Cantwell. She said 11 people cast their ballots by candlelight "just like our ancestors did."

"History repeated itself in Blue Ridge Summit," she said.

In the four-way race for the three county commissioners seats, G. Warren Elliott, the chairman of the board, was the top vote-getter with 6,360 votes with 52 precincts reporting. The 5,838 votes for Bob Thomas put him in second place. Cheryl Plummer, the only Democrat on the board, was in third place with 3,634 votes, more than 1,500 votes ahead of Bruce W. Hockersmith, the only challenger in the race. Hockersmith, a Democrat, is a former Shippensburg borough councilman.

Conner, the chief deputy coroner under veteran Coroner Kenneth L. Peiffer, was running ahead of Ronald R. Coover 7,562 votes to 2,159.

Carol L. Van Horn, a Chambersburg attorney and the only candidate running for the seat that had been held by Common Pleas Court Judge William H. Kaye, had picked up 8,347 votes in the 52 precincts reporting. Kaye resigned in September for health reasons.

"There's a lot to do to winding down a practice and prepare to go on the bench," she said. She will be sworn in as Franklin County's first female judge Jan. 3.

Of his apparent win, Elliott said he was overwhelmed by the support of the voters. He said it reinforces his belief that he and his commission colleagues are "on the right track on the work we've been doing.

"We make a good team and we each have a significant role to play," he said.

Plummer, who completes six years as a commissioner this year, said the best way to get re-elected "is to do a good job and listen to the voters." She, too, said the three incumbents are a good team to do the county's business.

Conner said that when he takes over in January, he will appoint Peiffer as his chief deputy for about two years until Paul "Ted" Reed completes his certification requirements, at which time Reed will be named chief deputy.

Conner said Peiffer will help to maintain continuity in the office during the transition.

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