Michael Conley defeats Allen Uhler in Upper Burrell supervisor's race
A familiar, more fracking-friendly face will be returning to the Upper Burrell supervisors.
Michael Conley edged out incumbent Supervisor Allen Uhler for a six-year seat on the board in a contest Conley entered through cross-party write-in votes.
Uhler was the sole “no” vote in a Nov. 1 decision to allow fracking to move forward in an agricultural portion of the township.
Ahead of the election, Conley said he favored allowing fracking on private property, regardless of its zoning.
Uhler was against fracking outside of industrial-zoned districts.
Both men are registered Democrats. However, Conley became the Republican nominee when he got 86 write-in votes in the Republican primary. So, despite losing his party's nomination, he was on Tuesday's ballot and won.
Regardless of which party sponsored him, Conley took this year's election with 338 votes, half again Uhler's tally of 217, according to unofficial results.
Conley said he is happy the voters chose him.
“It feels good. I'm ready to get to work,” he said.
Conley said his first order of business will be getting up to speed on the work the supervisors are doing.
“I want to get refamiliarized,” he said. “I'm going to take the next couple of weeks to think things over.”
Conley served as a supervisor from 1991 to 2005 and has unsuccessfully sought other political offices since leaving the board: the Democratic nomination for Westmoreland County sheriff in 2011 and township supervisor in 2015 against current Chairman Ross Walker.
Uhler was elected in 2011 and is serving his first term.
Conley said that if voters had chosen Uhler, it wouldn't have been a bad decision.
“We had two really good candidates running, but obviously the people chose me,” Conley said. “I don't know why and I don't want to say why, but, you know, (Uhler) is a good man.”
Uhler could not be reached for comment.
Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer.