Democrats sweep past Republicans in Oakmont Council races
The balance of power on Oakmont Council appeared to have tipped to the other side of the political see-saw on Tuesday.
According to unofficial results from Allegheny County's Elections Bureau, Democrats captured all four open council seats in the election.
It means that the Democrats will hold a 5-2 edge on council in what has historically been a Republican-dominated town.
“In a single election, I think that is extraordinary in Oakmont,” said Tom Briney, the lone incumbent Democratic councilman. He said usually the hope is to win a one or two seats, not stage a sweep.
Patricia Friday lead the Democratic ticket with 763 votes, one more than Sophia Facaros, who was followed by Briney at 693 and Tom Whelan with 638.
Losing Republican candidates were incumbent Laurie Saxon, 606 votes; fellow incumbent and current council president Timothy Milberger, 593 votes; and newcomers Jerome Kenna, 453, and Melissa Botta Havran, 406.
“There was a letter sent to all the citizens in Oakmont last week that implied that council was incompetent and didn't care about Oakmont,” Saxon said Tuesday. “I'm more disappointed about the letter than I am losing my seat on council.”
Saxon said the letter smacked of dirty politics, but the Democrats disagreed.
“It was factual, it was a lot of facts,” Facaros said of the newsletter mailed last week. “The Democratic committee worked hard. We were informative, we were focused.”
Briney said he does not see a big shift in policy, if the unofficial results from the county hold firm.
He said the new council members would likely want to look at the budget to see if its priorities match theirs.
Meanwhile, Saxon said she might consider asking for a recount if Whelan's margin of victory remains close.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.