Write-ins necessary in some borough council elections

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 12:06 a.m.

West Mifflin Democrats have the widest-open primary on Tuesday, with 11 seeking four council seats.

Two Republicans in West Mifflin are seeking multiple jobs. John Koczka and Jay Goonetilleke are running for council and the GOP tax collector nod, while Koczka also is running for mayor. Democrats running for council include incumbent Michael Olack, former councilmen C.L. Jabbour and Kenneth Ruffing, West Mifflin Area High School athletic director Scott Stephenson, returning candidates Dan Davis and Scott Santoro, self-employed resident Joyce Steiner Kushner, borough Civil Service commissioner William Bennett Jr., Ronald Babbie, Nikki Lynn Thielet and Timothy Eads. Babbie and Thielet have sought past vacancies on council.

On the other hand, neither party fielded any candidates for four seats in North Irwin.

In-between, while in some boroughs write-ins will be needed to fill in gaps on one or both party ballots, contests are promised for Democrats in Dravosburg, East McKeesport, Glassport, Munhall, West Elizabeth and White Oak.

• Dravosburg Democrats have four choices for three seats, former postmaster John Palcsey and incumbents Jay McKelvey, Barbara Stevenson and William Snodgrass.

• East McKeesport Democrats have five for four seats — incumbents Lynn Rosenbayger Brow, Ross Cianflone and Peter McGinty, also Linda Nolan and John Ekiert, who served on the Uniform Construction Code appeals board.

• In Elizabeth, four Republicans seek four seats on the Democratic ballot mayoral candidate V. Ann Malady also is one of three candidates for four council nods, with Chad Rager and Charles Smith Jr.

• Glassport has two slates running for Democratic nods for three council seats. The party committee endorsed Mayor Mitch Evanovich along with residents Blaise Wojton and Elaina Skiba. On the other slate are Mark Stecak and incumbents Paul Trunzo and Eugene Skerkoski.

• For four Irwin seats, incumbent Phyllis Thiem is the lone Democrat and incumbents Peggie Watson, Gail Macioce and John Cassandro are on the GOP ballot.

• Jefferson Hills Republicans have one candidate for four seats, incumbent David Montgomery. Democrats have two, incumbents Christopher King and Vickie Ielase.

• The one incumbent running in Liberty, S. David Sikorski, is a write-in candidate after Commonwealth Court removed him from the Democratic ballot over failure to have his statement of financial interest time stamped at the borough office. Unopposed on that ballot are South Allegheny High School teacher Mark Suckfiel, who also ran four years ago, McKeesport Area middle school teacher Christopher Gretz, South Allegheny High assistant softball coach Jennifer Riley and International Village stage manager Patrick Fisher.

• Munhall has seven Democrats running for four seats. They are incumbents Richard Votedian, Dana Ditillo, Rob Falce and Harvey Inglis, police dispatcher Harry Faulk, Steel Valley Enterprise Zone Corp. board member Rick Brennan and former Steel Valley school director Pamela Terrick.

• While four are unopposed for council in Port Vue's Democratic primary, Brent Kovac and Mark Nemeth seek Republican nods.

• Pleasant Hills Democrats have one candidate for four seats, Jeffrey Solomon, while four run unopposed for the GOP nod.

• While four are unopposed for Democratic nods in Versailles, Dennis Keefe seeks a Republican nod.

• Wall Democrats have two incumbents, John Dusak and Thomas Wratcher, on a ballot for three council seats.

• In West Elizabeth for four four-year seats incumbents Louise Biddle, Ray Armstrong Sr., Steve Hallam and Lisa Morris are challenged in the Democratic primary by Sylvia Pearsol and Raymond Dodds, while Scott Magill seeks a GOP nod. Frank Magill III, Ray Armstrong Jr. and Janet Isaacs seek the Democratic nod for a two-year seat. No Republicans filed there.

• Four Whitaker councilors are unopposed for renomination in a borough with a mayor's contest and four-way race for borough tax collector. Patricia Pasquantonio, Erin Hilligsberg, Lori Piel Johnson and Kathleen Asson seek to succeed Jeffrey Scripp.

• Four Republicans seek four council seats in White Oak, while in the Democratic primary five are on the ballot: Incumbent Kenneth Robb, planning commissioner Anthony Villinger, White Oak Athletic Association director Fred Haynes, West-to-West Coalition executive director Stephen Pholar and newcomer Matthew Keller.

There are complete slates of unopposed candidates for Democratic council nods in Homestead, Lincoln, West Homestead and Wilmerding. No Republicans filed in those boroughs, nor in Dravosburg, East McKeesport, Glassport, Liberty, Munhall, Wall or Whitaker.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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