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Who says 2nd can't be 1st? Stearn tops Dems

May 17, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Candidates Bob Ziobrowski, James C. Zeger and Clint Barkdoll performed well in their hometown areas, but being the most-popular second choice helped put Cheryl Stearn at the top of Tuesday's Democratic primary for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

Stearn, 60, of St. Thomas Township, placed second in 43 of the county's 74 precincts and finished first in 22 others, according to complete but unofficial results from the Franklin County Election Board. Stearn finished third or lower in just nine precincts, including two of the three precincts in St. Thomas Township.

Ziobrowski, 56, the former Chambersburg School Board president who took the second of the two Democratic nominations, finished first in 13 precincts - including one tie with Stearn - and second in about the same number of precincts, according to election results.

Zeger, the mayor of Mercersburg, Pa., placed first in about two dozen precincts, mainly smaller ones in and around that borough, and placed second in about half a dozen. Barkdoll, an attorney and former Waynesboro, Pa., councilman, had the most votes in 16 precincts, and finished second in seven.

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Stearn finished with more than 26 percent of the vote in the five-candidate field with 2,463 votes, 449 more than Ziobrowski. There were just 97 votes separating Ziobrowski, Zeger and Barkdoll, with Don Richards of Greencastle, Pa., coming in a distant fifth.

On the Republican side, Commissioner Bob Thomas, 52, of Chambersburg, the lone incumbent in the primary, finished with 33 percent of the vote, twice the total of the second nominee, 37-year-old David S. Keller of Chambersburg. Keller, who once challenged U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster in a primary, finished 338 votes ahead of former Chambersburg Borough councilman Carl W. Helman in the field of seven candidates.

In November, the two Republicans and two Democrats will be campaigning for the three seats on the board of commissioners.

Some incumbents may not be on the ballot in November. Washington Township Supervisors C. Stewart McCleaf and Paul Benchoff failed to survive the GOP primary.

Waynesboro School Board President Larry Glenn and board member Michael P. Shea lost in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. Waynesboro board member Anna K. Bostwick-Foley lost the GOP nomination to Jennifer Johns and did not file to run in the Democratic primary where Johns was unopposed.

In Chambersburg, school board member William Tolleson lost both the Republican and Democratic primaries to Joseph G. Tosten Jr.

Although there were plenty of commissioner candidates, contested Republican primaries for Sheriff and Controller and referendums on taxes in all six school districts, the primary turnout was 23 percent, about the same as the last similar primary in 2003, according to election figures.

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