Tri-county primary ballots have some interesting contests

Candidates for top of the ticket offices have been hitting the hustings these past few weeks in preparation for the primary election on Tuesday.

The 2019 election cycle highlights local elected offices that range from county judge to township supervisor, city council member, school director and more.

The May 21 primary election in Pennsylvania is a closed primary, a designation that allows only registered Republicans and Democrats to cast ballots for their candidates. The winners will take the party nominations into the general election in November.

Minor political parties and independents may submit their nominees for elective office this summer for placement on the November ballot.

The exception to political party-only voting are ballot referendums in Barkeyville and Utica that ask voters whether they support allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages within their communities.

All voters may cast yes or no ballots for those questions.

In addition to the local posts up for election, there are three seats on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and two seats on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that will be on voters’ ballots next week.

While there are scores of candidates’ names listed on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, there are also numerous entries for elected posts that carry no names. Voters may write in candidates for those slots.

Here is a listing of the top tri-county ballot entries for the May 21 primary election.

Venango County


Democrat – Albert “Chip” Abramovic, Bonnie Summers

Republican – Joe Carulli II, Darrell C. Karns, Mike Dulaney, Sam Breene, Tim Brooks

Voters will nominate two from each party on May 21. Three will be elected in the fall.

Brooks and Abramovic are incumbents. The third incumbent, Vince Witherup, is not seeking re-election.


Republican – Deborah Sharpe

Sharpe, the incumbent, won her first four-year term in 2003.


Democrat – Jamie Hunt

Republican – Lana Linden

The incumbent, Paula Palmer, has held the office since 2009 but is not seeking another term.


Republicans – Jamie Weaver, Heather Mohnkern

Democrat – Terri L. McFadden

The incumbents are Mohnkern, Weaver and McFadden.

Voters will nominate two Republicans and two Democrats, and three will be elected in the fall.

District judge 3-1

Democrat – Andrew Fish

Republican – Andrew Fish

Fish, who cross-filed on both tickets, is completing his second six-year term in office.



Republican – Bill Moon

Moon is seeking re-election to a second term.

Council (2)

Democrat – Michael Walentosky

Republican – Dale Massie, Ron Gustafson

Massie and Gustafson are the incumbents.



1st District

Republican – Donna Fletcher

2nd District

Republican – Christian Marshall, Ryan Rudegeair

3rd District

Republican – Fred Mays

Council members whose terms expire this year are Fletcher, Mays and James Marshall.

Clarion County

Common Pleas judge

Democrat – Mark Aaron, Sarah Seidle-Patton, Erich Spessard

Republican – Mark Aaron, Sarah Seidle-Patton, Eric Spessard

All three candidates cross-filed for the 10-year post. The incumbent, James G. Arner, is not seeking re-election.


Democrat – Ed Heasley

Republican – Kirke Wise, Ted Tharan, Wayne Brosius

The incumbents are Tharan, Brosius and Heasley. Voters will nominate two from each party, in the primary election. Three will be elected in November.

District attorney

Republican – Drew Welsh, Maria Battista

The incumbent is Mark Aaron who is seeking the county judge’s job.


Republican – Greg Mortimer

Mortimer is completing his eighth four-year term in office.


Republican – Jeff Himes

Himes is in his third term as prothonotary.


Republican – Tom McConnell

McConnell is completing his first term in office.


Democrat – Pamela Zahoran

Republican – Sue Leonard, Jolene Weaver Frampton

All three are incumbent auditors. Voters will elect three in the fall.

District judge

District 3-3

Democrat – Garrett Tharan, Russ Cataldo, Jarah Heeter, Melissa Fulton

Republican – Jarah Heeter, Damien P. Avery, Russ Cataldo, Melissa Fulton, Michelle Magness, Garrett tharan, Rodney Sherman

Four of the seven candidates cross-filed on both tickets.

The incumbent, Amy Long Turk, is not seeking re-election. The district office is in Knox.

District judge

District 3-4

Democrat – Jeff Miller, Shelley Ritzler

Republican – Shelley Ritzler, Jeff Miller

Miller is the incumbent. Both candidates cross-filed. The office is located in New Bethlehem.

Forest County


Democrat – Robert Snyder Jr.

Republican – Pat Kline, Michael Oliver, Mark Kingston, Basil Huffman

The incumbents are Huffman, Snyder and Norman Wimer. Wimer, who is coroner, is not seeking re-election to a commissioner post.

Voters will nominate two from each party and they will stand for election to three seats in November.

District attorney

Democrat – Alyce Busch

The incumbent is Barbara Litten, a Republican, who is not seeking re-election.


Republican – Norman Wimer

Wimer, the incumbent, won his first four-year term in 2003.


Republican – Stacey L. Barnes

Barnes was named to the office in 2018 to succeed Pamela Millin who retired after 30 years.


Republican – Dawn M. Millin

Millin, the incumbent, was first elected in 2007.


Democrat – Deborah Wagner

Republican – Melissa Ruth, Catolyn Mealy, Cathy Blum

The incumbents are Mealy, Wagner and Louise Fedora. Voters will nominate two Republicans and two Democrats in the primary. Three will be elected in November.

District judge

Democrat – Daniel Miller

Republican – Daniel Miller

Miller, who cross-filed, is the incumbent. The district serves all of Forest County.