Candidates file petitions for upcoming Penn-Trafford area elections
By Chris Foreman
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
With five Democrats contending for four party nominations, the race for Trafford Council has attracted the most candidates for the May 21 primary ballot in the Penn-Trafford area.
But with challengers in all three regions, the Penn-Trafford School Board races could be just as interesting.
Here is a rundown of the anticipated primary races and the potential fall matchups, based on the filing of nomination petitions by major-party candidates. Candidates are not official until election officials certify their petitions.
Democrats and Republicans had to file petitions with the county elections bureau by March 12. Independent candidates may gather signatures until Aug. 1.
While five Democrats will vie for the four nominations for a four-year council term, only two Republicans will be on the Trafford ballot this spring.
On the Democratic ballot, incumbent Councilmen Casey Shoub Sr., Henry Schultz and John Race are joined by challengers Cheryl Petersen and Peter J. Ledwich.
Because they were appointed to office, two of the incumbents are up for election to Trafford Council for the first time.
Schultz was appointed in December 2011 to serve out Marco Bortoluzzi's term. Race was appointed last month to replace Frank Bruno until the winner of a two-year seat takes office in January.
Petersen had applied to fill both vacancies in hopes of being appointed by council. Ledwich had applied to fill the rest of Bortoluzzi's term.
Petersen, a seven-year borough resident who serves on the recreation board, said she wants to help guide the town's revitalization effort.
With 13 years on council, Shoub is the longest-tenured councilman in Trafford.
On the Republican side, Council President Richard Laird is joined by Brian Ellicker, who is the borough's emergency management coordinator.
Laird, a councilman since 2004, became president in March 2012 after council voted 4-3 to remove Rita Windsor from the role.
Windsor is not seeking re-election.
Ellicker, a borough resident for nine years, said he thinks Trafford has stagnated over the past year because of divisions on council.
With four nominations up for grabs, Laird and Ellicker are all but assured of advancing to the general election.
A third Republican had filed paperwork to run for council, but Fire Chief Brian Lindbloom — who also filed a petition to run for mayor — said he had to withdraw because of a conflict of interest with his job as a paramedic for Trafford Emergency Medical Services.
Lindbloom's withdrawal leaves incumbent Rey Peduzzi, a Republican, as the only candidate for mayor on the ballot.
All four incumbents — P. Jay Tray, Richard Niemiec, Martin Stovar and Toni Ising — are filed to serve a four-year term.
In Region 2, two seats are up for grabs this year. Tray, the board president, and Niemiec will face a challenge for party nominations from Harry A. Smith, a 38-year educator who retired in 2011 as the district's assistant superintendent.
Smith said he wanted to get involved to help the district with its building plans, including a renovation of the high school. He helped with a feasibility study of the district's buildings before retiring.
For the other two regions, voters will choose one candidate on their ballots.
One seat is up for election in Region 1 this year. Sallie Bradley, a former teacher who served 20 years as a board member, will challenge Stovar, who was appointed to the board in January 2012, to win party nominations in May.
In Region 3, Ising, the board vice president who is completing her first term, faces a challenge from Michael Morocco Sr. and Tim Wilson.
As is common in school board races, all of the candidates are cross-filed on the Democrat and Republican ballots, so the primary could be the decisive election in some of these races, or every candidate could win at least one party nomination for the November general election.
Two seats are open on the Penn Township board of commissioners, but unless there's a spirited write-in campaign, the primary races won't feature much suspense.
With four-term Commissioner Charles Horvat retiring at the end of the year, Ward 4 is open to Democrat Marybeth Kuznik or Republican Timothy M. Gwynn, who are unopposed for primary nominations.
Kuznik has served as an election judge in Penn Township for about 20 years and lost the Democratic primary last year for the 56th Legislative District. Gwynn is an accountant.
In Ward 2, there could be a November rematch of a race from 2011, when incumbent Commissioner Edward Sullivan defeated John Beech by 15 votes out of 707 cast.
Sullivan, a Republican, joined the board as an appointee in November 2010. Beech, a Democrat, is a retired police officer who worked in Oklahoma.
Only three Republican candidates filed to run for the party nominations for four open seats on Manor Council.
Incumbents Bruce W. Hartman Jr. and James A. Morgan — both of whom were appointed to the board — and Steve Ira are seeking Republican nominations for four-year terms.
Councilman Jeff Herman did not file for re-election. Neither did Councilman Chuck Konkus, who was expected to resign from council this week because he moved to Penn Township.
Mayor David Sturgess didn't file petitions for re-election. That leaves Jeremy Dixon, a Republican, as the only candidate in the primary for the post.
Dixon is the borough's emergency management coordinator and a volunteer firefighter.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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