Write-ins capture some Venango supervisor, council positions

From staff reports

Results from Venango County in this month’s general election are now official, and write-in candidates captured a couple of township supervisor positions by outpolling candidates who were listed on the ballots.

Elsewhere across municipalities in the county, write-ins won some other supervisor and borough council positions in which no candidates were on the ballots or there were fewer candidates listed than the number of positions up for grabs.

In Cherrytree Township, Shari Nelson received 275 write-ins to defeat Austin Armstrong, who was listed on the ballot and had 82 votes, for the six-year seat.

And in Jackson Township, write-in Kenneth Volk picked up 126 votes to edge listed candidate Jeffrey Shorts, who received 123 votes, for that six-year post.

Other township and borough write-in winners included:

Richland Township: No candidates were on the ballot for one six-year supervisor seat, and William B. Ritchey Jr. edged Michael John McFaddden, 21-20, in write-in tallies.

Scrubgrass Township: Sixteen write-in votes were cast for one six-year supervisor seat with no listed candidates, and Mark Fox was the winner with four votes.

Victory Township: No candidates were listed for a four-year supervisor seat, and William Rial won the post with 12 write-ins. Listed candidates James Fryman and C.W. Stock captured six-year and two-year supervisor posts, respectively.

Polk Borough: Zach Murdoch with eight write-ins and Mary Dickson with seven write-ins joined listed candidates Pamela Kilgore and James Kilgore as the winners of four four-year seats on Polk Borough Council. The Kilgores both had 59 votes, and 52 write-ins were cast for a variety of candidates.

Joshua McAfoose received five of the 16 write-ins cast to win a two-year Polk Borough Council seat. No candidates were listed.

Pleasantville Borough: Two four-years seats were up on Pleasantville Borough Council, and Bob Rigby received 52 of the 83 write-ins to join listed candidate Kathleen McMunn as the winners. McMunn had 89 votes.

Rouseville Borough: No candidates were listed for two four-year seats on Rouseville Borough Council, and Laurie Long with seven write-ins and Beth Emick with six won the seats. A total of 32 write-in votes were cast.

Utica Borough: Dennis Snyder was the only listed candidate for two four-year seats on Utica Borough Council, and he received 58 votes. Tod Elford picked up eight of the 20 write-ins cast to win the second seat.

Meanwhile, two other candidates who won six-year supervisor seats without ballot opposition were omitted from a previous list of winners in the newspaper.

They were Timothy Hanna in Irwin Township and Michael Shingledecker in Mineral Township.

In Oakland Township, Charles Smith won both the six-year and two-year supervisor seats that were on the ballot without opposition, so a supervisor will need appointed to that panel for the seat that Smith doesn’t take.

High-profile write-ins

Meanwhile, the official election tally has determined exactly how many write-in votes a couple of high-profile candidates received in two races of note in which neither write-in was successful.

In Oil City, current mayor Bill Moon, who had chosen not to seek re-election but instead pursue a Republican nomination for Venango County commissioner, launched a write-in bid to retain his mayor seat after failing to receive a GOP nod for commissioner.

Moon earned 348 of the 353 write-ins cast in Oil City, but it wasn’t nearly enough to defeat Democratic winner John Kluck, who received 766 votes. Republican nominee Nick Moran, a current Oil City Council member, had 711 votes.

County Republican leaders had feared Moon’s write-in bid would hurt Moran’s chances in the mayoral race.

In Cranberry Township, retired PennDOT engineer Michael Deibert was unopposed on the ballot for a supervisor opening after winning both party nominations in the primary.

Township businessman Wayne Hepler announced a write-in bid late in the campaign while he was also expressing opposition to a short-term rental ordinance the township is considering.

Hepler received 711 of the 724 write-in votes cast, but Deibert’s 882 votes earned him the victory.

The voter turnout total in Venango County for the general election was 39.54%.