May 15 primary election field set

By on May 11, 2018

U.S. Representative Lloyd Smucker, R-Pa., right, answers a question from the moderators and audience members during a debate with Republican Chet Beileron the issues of the 11th Pennsylvania Congressional District before the upcoming May 15 Republican primary, at Columbia High School Monday April 30, 2018.








News Editor


While the 2018 Pennsylvania primary offers few contested races, the May 15 election will determine the names printed on the November general election ballot — including candidates vying for U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania Governor and Lieutenant Governor, State Senator, and seats on the General Assembly.

Recent local primary election turnout has fluctuated. In the 2010 primary, turnout among Lancaster County voters hit 23.8 percent compared to the 2014 primary when 16.6 percent of registered voters visited the polls.

Randall O. Wenger, Chief Clerk / Chief Registrar, Lancaster County Board of Elections and Registration Commission, expects next week’s turnout to be closer to the 2010 figure than 2014.

The long-term weather forecast presumes a partly sunny election day with a 20 percent chance of rain and a high temperature close to 80.

Perhaps most compelling is the GOP primary race in the 11th Congressional District where incumbent Lloyd Smucker faces off with Chet Beiler — a repeat of the 2016 primary when Smucker beat Beiler by 10 percentage points.

Democrat Dana Hamp Gulick, of Manheim Township, is seeking the 97th District State Assembly seat.

Making things even more interesting is Jess King’s unopposed campaign in the 11th Congressional District Democrat primary. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders joined the Democratic congressional hopeful in a rally in Lancaster May 5.

State Rep. Mindy Fee speaks to a constituent at her Manheim office.

Sanders praised King’s stance on Medicare-for-all health care, bumping the minimum wage, preventing Social Security cuts, criminal justice reform, “commons sense” gun safety measures and taxing the rich.

The Republican candidate, either Smucker or Beiler, will likely be a heavy favorite in the November general election as Lancaster County area GOP voters make up 52 percent of registered voters.

Democrats make up 32 percent of voters in Lancaster County where 16 percent of voters have registered independent or with other parties not included in the May 15 primary election.

Lititz voting demographics mirror the county’s — divided as 51.89 percent Republicans and 32 percent Democrats. Voters registered non-GOP/Democrat total 15.52 percent.

The breakdown in Warwick Township is decidedly more Republican where the GOP holds more than a 2-1 advantage over Democrats in registered voters.

Eligible Warwick Republicans make up 59.2 percent of all registered voters while Democrats are up 26.1 and the independents ring in at 14.7 percent.

The newly redrawn 11th Congressional District, which covers all of Lancaster County and southern York County, aligns closely with Lititz and Lancaster County’s voter registration.

The new 11th district is 53 percent Republican, 31 percent Democrat and 16 percent other. The change provides a distinct upgrade for the GOP compared to Smucker’s win two years ago when the district was 45 percent Republican and 39 percent Democrat.

The Beiler-Smucker race in 2016 was a hard-fought, expensive, and sometimes nasty primary battle in which Smucker replaced 10-term U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts.

Jess King and Senator Bernie Sanders wave to the crowd of supporters at Musser Park in Lancaster City Saturday morning. May 5, 2018.

This time around, Beiler’s ads once again criticized Smucker as a “liberal career politician.” On the other hand, liberal critics lambasted Smucker, who previously served as a two-term state senator, as too closely aligned to President Donald Trump.

Beiler, in a May 7 meeting with LNP’s Editorial Board, apologized for his own “distasteful” campaign tactics in his 2016 battle with Smucker, while at the same time making new allegations against his opponent.

A Manheim-area businessman and former county Republican leader, Beiler on Monday told the LNP board, “I didn’t want a bloodbath like we had two years ago, a five-month bloodbath, which I’m so sorry, it got a little bit out of hand.”

In another race that will be contested in the November general election, Republican Ryan Aument is running his first reelection campaign for state Senator in the 36th District.

Running unopposed in the May 15 GOP primary, Aument in November will face Elizabethtown Borough Council member, Bill Troutman, who is uncontested in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Suzanne Delahunt, a Democratic Committee person and a teacher at Manheim Township High School, is running unopposed in the District 37 Democratic primary.

Also running unopposed is Mindy Fee, who since 2013 has represented the 37th District in the State Assembly.

In the last contested GOP District 37 primary, Fee thumped Timothy Reedy in 2016. That year, she also defeated Democrat Brian Kresge in the general election, taking close to 77 percent of the vote in both elections.

Suzanne Delahunt, a Democratic Committee person and a teacher at Manheim Township High School, is running unopposed in the District 37 Democratic primary.

Another primary featuring two uncontested ballots, is for the 97th District State Assembly seat held by Steve Mentzer.

Mentzer, of Lititz; and Democrat Dana Hamp Gulick, of Manheim Township are both running unopposed in the primary.

Also up for reelection is U.S. Senator Bob Casey Jr. who is uncontested in the Democratic primary.

Republican Senate hopefuls Jim Christiana, a state representative from Beaver County, and Hazleton congressman Lou Barletta, a party favorite who is endorsed by President Trump, face-off Tuesday.

Patrick Burns is news editor and social media editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at or at 721-4455.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *