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Kasunic wins district judge nominations

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 2:21 a.m.
Richard A. Kasunic II announced his candidacy for district judge in court 14-3-06 in Smock. 2/21/13

Newcomer Richard A. Kasunic III received the Republican and Democratic nominations for the six-year term as judge for Magisterial District Court 14-3-04. He defeated the incumbent in Tuesday's primary.

Kasunic, 39, of Dunbar Township, received 38 percent of the Democratic vote and 28 percent of the Republican vote. His name will appear on the ballot on both tickets in November.

Incumbent Jesse Cramer, 54, received 30 percent of the Democratic vote and 25 percent of the Republican vote.

Soni Shaner-Mancuso, 39, of Dunbar Township, received 27 percent on the Republican ticket and 20 percent on the Democratic ticket.

Five candidates were running for the seat, including Kenneth Jaynes and George Stash III. All the candidates ran on both tickets.

Shaner-Mancuso, daughter of retiring District Judge Dwight Shaner, is a mental health therapist and a drug abuse counselor.

Kasunic, son of state Sen. Richard Kasunic, said his qualifications for office came from many years of working in supervision with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and his family background in politics.

“I was involved with my dad's campaigns for years, and I grew up realizing the importance of public service,” Kasunic III said.

Kasunic said he wants to bring programs to schools on truancy and speak to youths about the dangers of illicit drugs.

“I think that it would also be important to establish a satellite office to make it more convenient,” he said. “It's a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of time, and I will commit myself to do it, making myself available 24/7.”

Receiving 11 percent of the Republican votes and 6 percent of the Democrat vote was Jaynes, 51, who has 30 years of law enforcement experience.

Stash, 36, a self-employed resident, received 9 percent of the Republican vote and 5 percent of the Democratic.

The district was expanded to comprise the boroughs of Belle Vernon, Dawson, Dunbar, Everson, Fayette City, Newell, Perryopolis and Vanderbilt and townships of Dunbar, Franklin, Jefferson, Lower Tyrone, Perry, Upper Tyrone and Washington. All results are unofficial until verified by the Fayette County Election Bureau.

Mark Hofmann is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mhofmann@tribweb.com or 724-626-3539.

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