Primary fails to narrow Franklin Regional board race

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 1:24 a.m.

The same eight candidates who faced off in Tuesday's primary will fight for four seats on the Franklin Regional School Board in November.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties nominated four different candidates in the hotly contested race.

Four newcomers received the top votes from local Republicans. Jeremy Samek, Susan Ilgenfritz, Gregg Neavin and George Harding will appear on the Republican ballot in November. Samek received the most votes from Republicans with 1,010.

“I am humbled that the voters supported me in such a big way,” Samek said.

“I'm looking forward to working hard to make our school district better.”

While the three incumbents who sought re-election – Kimberly Bondi, Dennis Irvine and Paul Scheinert – were locked out in the Republican race, the trio, along with newcomer Bobbi Watt Geer, received the Democratic nominations. Bondi received the most votes from Democrats with 700.

The fight is not over, Bondi said.

“I want to thank everyone who came out and voted,” Bondi said. “The battle is not over. We will continue to fight for the education of our students, the financial stability we currently have and the academic excellence that has existed at Franklin Regional for many, many years.”

The race turned contentious in recent weeks. Breaking tradition, the Murrysville-Export Republican Committee chose to endorse four newcomers in the primary – Samek, Ilgenfritz, Harding and Neavin – citing a need for individuals who want to improve the quality of education at Franklin Regional while controlling costs.

All candidates had cross-filed for the primary and appeared on both the Republican and Democratic ballots. When combining votes from both ballots, Bondi received the most of any candidate, with 1,492. Irvine received 1,378; Samek received 1,322; Scheinert received 1,269; Geer received 1,268; Ilgenfritz received 1,163; Neavin received 1,048; and Harding received 1,028.

The race for the Republican nominations was tight. Bondi trailed Harding – the nominated candidate with the least votes – by 12 votes.

All results are not official until certified by the Westmoreland County Election Bureau.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or

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