WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A last-minute write-in campaign has secured Mercersburg Mayor James C. Zeger a place on the ballot in the Nov. 5 municipal election.
The Franklin County Board of Elections on Thursday released its write-in results from last week’s primary election. Candidates now have a few days to submit documents asking that various spellings of their names — such as John Doe and John A. Doe — be cumulated or amassed.
Zeger’s name did not appear on ballots on May 21. However, write-in votes would secure him both the Democratic and Republican nominations for the mayoral spot if he cumulates spellings of his name.
Republicans cast 59 write-in votes for James C. Zeger, James Zeger and Jim Zeger. Democrats cast 44 write-in votes for those names as well as J. Zeger.
Comparatively, Republicans cast 43 votes for candidate Jeremy Jones and 14 votes for candidate Anthony W. Frisby. No Democrats appeared on the ballots.
Zeger, 66, became mayor of Mercersburg in April 2003. He and the town’s police chief have come under fire in public meetings this year for some police practices.
Zeger said he hopes to return a positive message to the town.
“I initially wasn’t going to run,” he said. “I was kind of beaten down by the harsh criticism and negativity going on.”
As the primary election approached, Zeger talked to his wife, Linda, about the calls and letters of support he received. He decided to run. Ads appeared in the town’s newspaper with a week to spare, and friends stood outside polls on Election Day.
“I was elated by the show of support,” Zeger said.
Write-in votes did little to disrupt other races.
One of the Waynesboro Area School Board regions had only one candidate for two open seats.
Incumbent school board member Bonnie Bachtell, who cross-filed to appear on both parties’ ballots, secured enough votes to proceed to November’s general election, but the second slot could have been decided by write-in votes. No single candidate reached the 10-vote minimum to be placed on ballots in that race, though.
Likewise, Democrats did not cast enough write-in votes to nominate someone for an Antrim Township (Pa.) supervisor seat. Incumbent Republican Richard Baer will run unopposed for another six-year term.
In the Greene Township (Pa.) supervisor race, Shawn Corwell secured about 47 write-in votes from Democrats under various spellings of his name. He also appeared on the GOP ballot and had 1,112 votes from that party.
No one secured enough write-in votes from Democrats to challenge Delmos Oldham for a Ward 3 seat on the Waynesboro Borough Council. Also, incumbent Mayor Richard Starliper has won both parties’ nomination for re-election.
In Quincy Township, Pa., incumbent Robert “Bob” Gunder and challenger Edward “Ed” Wilson sought a six-year term on the Quincy Township Board of Supervisors. Both men are Republicans.
Gunder received 286 votes from the GOP, compared to 264 for Wilson. Democrats wrote in Gunder’s name about 84 times and Wilson’s name about 74 times, depending on which spellings are recognized.
That means Gunder will appear as both the Republican and Democratic nominee in November if he petitions to have his spellings cumulated.