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Erosenko, Harvey claim election victories

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Personnel shake-ups and political feuds on Monroeville Council drew opinionated voters to the polls on Tuesday.

“We need new ideas (on council), and maybe new ideas can make a change,” Ward 5 resident Rita Eshman said Tuesday, after casting her vote for mayoral candidate and GOP newcomer John Ritter.

Monroeville fire Chief Harold Katofsky distributed campaign literature for incumbent Mayor Greg Erosenko at the Ward 3 polls. He said that Erosenko could help bring stability to the police department, which has been under the command of three different officers in the last year.

Erosenko won a second term in Monroeville over Ritter, with 25 of 25 precincts reporting on Tuesday.

“I'm happy for Monroeville,” Erosenko said. “It was close, but a win is a win. I'm not complaining.”

Erosenko, 60, a Democrat, captured 54 percent of the vote to Ritter's 46 percent. Results are unofficial until certified by the Allegheny County Board of Elections.

The Monroeville Republicans backed Ritter, 59, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He ran on a platform of bringing civility to a seven-member council fraught with political quarrels.

“I congratulated (Erosenko) as being our mayor and my mayor as well, and I let him know that he would have my full support, and the council will have my full support,” Ritter said Tuesday night. “I intend to get a good night's rest.”

Monroeville resident Regina Ranelli, who campaigned for Ritter and helped work the polls on Tuesday, said Erosenko is too politically involved to protect the interests of residents. Ritter, on the other hand, was “ ...not representing special interests or personal agendas,” she said. “He's a ‘non-politician.' ”

Poll workers in Ward 3 said Tuesday afternoon that more voters and poll workers had turned out than usual for a non-presidential election.

The Ward 3 seat was the only contested council race, after three candidates won on both the Democratic and Republican ballots in the May primary.

Republican candidate Dan Alexander greeted voters as they arrived to the polls Tuesday.

“I don't think they want the same political crowd getting in,” Alexander said. “A lot of people are fed up.”

Alexander was defeated by Monroeville fire Chief Ron Harvey, who previously served on council for 17 months. Harvey received 57 percent of the vote.

“I'm not telling you I know it all, but I can assure you that with the help of the other six council members, our decisions are going to be for the betterment of the community,” Harvey said.

Newcomers to council are widely expected to change the voting dynamic, which has been 4-3.

Linda Gaydos, Paul Caliari Jr. and Tom Wilson sailed to an easy victory, unopposed on the Democratic ticket.

Regardless of the new faces at council meetings in 2014, some voters said they are skeptical as to whether a new council will get back to municipal business.

“I really don't know,” Monroeville resident Francis Deal said. “Only time will tell.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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