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1 vote elects Export mayor

| Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

By one vote, Export Mayor Michael Calder appears to have won a second term in office.

The Westmoreland County Board of Elections on Thursday approved Calder's write-in vote total that included various versions of his name.

Calder, who was defeated in the spring Democratic primary by former Mayor Robert Campagna, was given credit for 91 write-in votes.

Campagna, whose name appeared on the Nov. 5 ballot, received 90 votes.

Calder could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Campagna said he may appeal the board's decision.

“I haven't decided yet,” Campagna said as he left the courthouse.

The election board's decision came down to accepting variations of spellings of Calder's name, including votes for “Mike Climar,” “Mike Calden” and “Mike Coldred.”

County Commissioners Charles Anderson, Tyler Courtney and Ted Kopas serve as members of the board of elections. They unanimously agreed that the variations of Calder's name were close enough to give him credit for the votes.

The county's election bureau initially did not count one write-in vote cast for “Mike Climar” as part of the mayor's vote total.

“We try to measure intent, which is a very difficult test. It's a very inexact science,” said Election Bureau Director Jim Montini.

Commissioners said it appeared all 91 voters intended to vote for Calder.

If just one of the write-in votes was not counted, Calder and Campagna would have finished in a tie that would have been broken by a casting of lots.

Montini said that unless a challenge of the results is filed in Common Pleas Court, the election will be official in five days.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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