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Good turnout expected for primary today

May 20, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Good races make for good turnout and that's what the chairman of the Franklin County Board of Elections expects for today's municipal primary.

"Speaking not as an election official, but as a political scientist, I think it will be a very good turnout," said Dr. Hugh Jones, a retired Shippensburg (Pa.) University professor. The reasons he listed were "controversial races, open seats and good weather."

Jones predicted turnout will be well above the 18 percent that voted in the 1999 primary, when the parties were picking nominees for many of the same county and municipal offices.

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This primary also includes an office that did not exist four years ago, the District 7 district justice seat, which attracted 10 candidates.

"The district justice race is exciting because there's so many candidates," said H. Lee Showalter III, another member of the board of elections.

The polls at the 75 precincts open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

In the GOP primary for county commissioner, the voters will pick two nominees from a list of three candidates. Scott H. Blanchard, 39, of Greencastle, Pa., is seeking to unseat either G. Warren Elliott or Bob Thomas, both 48 and from Chambersburg, Pa.

Managing growth and preserving the county's rural quality of life have been the main issues in the campaign.

Thomas and Elliott both have touted the county's record of preserving almost 7,000 acres of farmland and drafting a comprehensive plan to address growth as it affects transportation, housing and other areas. Blanchard has countered that the county should be more active in addressing development and environmental issues, such as the recently abandoned Washington Township bypass proposal and spreading sewage sludge on farmland.

Elliott and Thomas both are seeking a third term on the board of commissioners. This is Blanchard's first run for office in the county.

Robert B. Wollyung, 63, of Chambersburg, is seeking his fourth term as sheriff, but he'll have to get past challengers Dane Anthony, 43, of Chambersburg, and Roger A. Blattenberger, 58, of Mercersburg, Pa., who also are seeking the GOP nomination.

Wollyung is a retired Pennsylvania State Police officer, but his opponents also have law enforcement experience. Anthony served 15 years as a deputy sheriff, most of them under Wollyung. Blattenberger is a constable for Peters Township and previously served as a sheriff's deputy in Florida.

Although no Democrat filed to run for the sheriff nomination, one of the three Republican candidates may end up with that nomination, according to Jean Byers, the county's deputy chief clerk. A minimum of 100 write-in votes is required to secure a nomination for a countywide office; 10 for a borough, township or school board nomination.

That leaves open the possibility that one candidate could capture both nominations, thus essentially winning office, or voters could pick different nominees.

The new district justice seat drew 10 people in the race. District 7 will be comprised of Guilford and Quincy townships and the borough of Mont Alto, Pa.

Rob Ackerman, Douglas J. Furness, Sue Kohler, all of Fayetteville; Michael K. Hennessy, Terry McKee, James Metz, Cheryl Reed, Mary Lou Sheeley and Gerald Spielman, all of Chambersburg; and Kelly L. Rock of Mont Alto are running for a six-year term in office. All crossfiled except Sheeley and Spielman, who are only running in the GOP primary.

Since candidates for district justice may crossfile to run in both primaries, it is possible for one person to capture both nominations, or the voters from each party could pick a different nominee.

The District 3 race for district justice could also prove interesting. When the districts were reconfigured to create the seventh district, Hamilton Township was added on to District 3, while the Orrstown, Southampton Township and the West End Shippensburg areas were moved to another district.

John P. Weyman of Letterkenny Township is running for a third six-year term there against challenger Richard L. Alloway II of Hamilton Township. Both crossfiled to run in both primaries.

The Waynesboro, Greencastle-Antrim and Tuscarora school boards have only as many candidates running as there are seats to fill, so all those running are virtually assured of winning a seat.

In Waynesboro, one of the candidates is 19-year-old Megan E. Shea. At the time she announced her candidacy in March, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association listed no school directors younger than 20, so she will likely be the state's youngest.

A lack of competition is not the case in the Chambersburg Area School District where all five incumbents running face one or more challengers.

Board President Stanley J. Helman faces two challengers for his Region 2 seat, Kirby Hockensmith and Larry L. Hoover. In Region 5, incumbent Penny W. Stoner will face Lori Leedy.

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