No local surprises in Tuesday’s primary election

By on May 17, 2017
Anne Pyle, a Democrat who also cross-registered, fell less than 100 votes shy of earning a spot on the Republican ballot in November.

Anne Pyle, a Democrat who also cross-registered, fell less than 100 votes shy of earning a spot on the Republican ballot in November.

Low voter turnout on a sunny, warm Tuesday was running at about 7 percent in the afternoon as only 121 voters had cast primary ballots at the typically busy Lancaster Evangelical Free Church on Pierson Road.

With only a GOP Warwick School Board seat contested and a Pennsylvania Superior Court race on the ballots, voter participation in the county eventually rose to 14.2 percent, according to election officials.

The departure of Warwick School Board President Dr. Timothy Quinn and Lititz Borough Council President Karen Weibel at the end of this year attracted some new and some familiar candidates.

Anne Pyle, a Democrat who also cross-registered on the GOP ballot, fell less than 100 votes shy of earning a spot on the coveted Republican ballot in November.

She finished fifth in a race to choose four candidates behind three GOP-backed incumbents Millard Eppig Jr., Debra Wenger, and Michael Landis along with Republican Matt Knouse.

Pyle, who ran unopposed on the Democratic ballot and will be on that ticket in the November general election, worried about low turnout at the LEFC poll Tuesday.

“I really do believe that voters have more power when you are voting in a primary,” she said. “These are the people that really touch our lives you know. So, I’m hoping that sooner or later people get that message of how important it is to vote.”

Pyle came close, winning just 98 votes less than Eppig for the final spot on the GOP November ballot.

Another contested race local voters participated in was election for judge candidates to Pennsylvania Superior Court. Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman bested four other candidates to win the GOP primary and one of eight spots on the November ballot seeking four open Superior Court seats.

As Lancaster District Attorney since 2007, Stedman created the first ever countywide Elder Abuse Unit as well as greatly enhanced the Child Abuse Unit, which has received statewide recognition. He collaborated with the courts and reduced the prison population with targeted strategies and increased efficiency, and created the office’s first Outreach Coordinator to focus on prevention and education, and built one of the top Computer Forensic Units in the state, according to his campaign.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to have received the support of Republican voters across the Commonwealth for a seat on the Superior Court,” Stedman said. “As the District Attorney of one of Pennsylvania’s largest counties and with over 70 percent of the cases that come before the Superior Court being criminal in nature, I am keenly aware of how important it is that we have judges with a strong background in criminal law serving on the Superior Court.”

Stedman said in a press release, as the first sitting District Attorney to receive a “highly recommended” rating from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, “I am well positioned to bring the prosecutorial experience I have gained throughout my career to the statewide appellate courts.”

He is strong supporter of Veterans Court and routinely works with the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association on legislation and improvements.

Prior to his election, Craig Stedman served as Assistant District Attorney in Lancaster for 17 years as a trial and appellate lawyer. He eventually specialized in homicide prosecutions and successfully handled the most complicated and serious cases. He took over as the chief of the Lancaster County Major Crimes Unit 2000 and worked hand-in-hand with police on the front lines to solve murders. All of his trial convictions have withstood appellate scrutiny and none have been overturned.

In other primary ballots: Warwick Democrats Jack Enco and Marcello Medini will move on to the November general election — seeking the two open spots on the Warwick Township Board of Supervisors — to face off with Republicans Andy Spade and Joseph McSparren.

Lititz resident Jeff Conrad earned the spot on the Republican ballot in the general election for Court of Common Pleas judge. The seat was held by Judge Leslie Gorbey, who has served on the court for two decades and is not seeking retention in November.

Others running unopposed on Tuesday’s primary ballot were Ed Tobin for a second term as Judge Magistrate; Lititz Mayor Timothy R. Snyder; and tax collector Jeannie A. Nearhoof.

In Warwick Township, Republican Michael Tait ran unopposed for auditor and Lynn Reapsome ran alone for tax collector.

Incumbent Republican Cory Van Brookhoven was the lone candidate seeking a 1st Ward borough council seat, as was John C. Bear in the 2nd Ward. Christine Sensenich, the incumbent Republican for the borough’s Third Ward council seat, also moves on.

Incumbent Elizabeth Township Republican Supervisor Jeff Burkholder also ran unopposed on Tuesday’s GOP ballot.

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

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