Andrejcik tops Callender for Democratic Lower Burrell mayor nomination; Yakopec gets shot at council
First-time political candidate John Andrejcik clinched a victory over incumbent Lower Burrell Mayor Richard Callender in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, preliminary vote tallies show.
Andrejcik, 60, a Navy veteran and retired Allegheny County Common Pleas court reporter, secured 55% of the vote to Callender’s 45%, with all nine precincts reporting, according to unofficial results from the Westmoreland County Elections Bureau.
Andrejcik said he was feeling “a lot of emotions” after tabulating the results with supporters at Mogie’s Restaurant & Irish Pub on Leechburg Road.
“I feel ecstatic,” Andrejcik said shortly after 11 p.m. “It wasn’t an easy campaign. It got a little ugly here and there, and we stayed strong, we tried to stay positive, and it feels good right now.”
Callender phoned Andrejcik at 10:08 p.m. to concede and congratulate him on the victory, Andrejcik said.
Callender, 51, who spent eight years on council and four years as mayor, had touted his business experience as owner of Kiddieland Childcare & Learning Center in Tarentum and as a nuclear power consultant. Callender could not immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Though the race marked Andrejcik’s first run as a candidate, he emphasized that he’s been involved with public service and political environments for much of his life.
“Even though I have never been a politician, I’ve been around politics for quite a few years,” Andrejcik said, whose father was a longtime municipal treasurer while Andrejcik was growing up in the Creighton section of East Deer.
Andrejcik was ineligible to run for office as an official court reporter, but he retired from the post in October.
As mayor, Andrejcik said he will strive to improve the city’s financial position and attract more development. He said he’s eager to continue listening to ideas and concerns from the public.
“I want to keep my belt tight around the finances of the city. I want to keep the city strong. I want to try to bring in some new business,” Andrejcik said. “I’m tired of empty storefronts on our main drag going through Lower Burrell.”
In a tight race for two open seats on city council, incumbent Democrat Chris Fabry narrowly secured the majority of votes, preliminary tallies show.
Fabry, 39, who works in technology sales, won 34% of the vote and longtime former city solicitor Stephen Yakopec Jr., 61, got the second Democratic nomination with 32.7% of the votes.
Christopher Koziarski, 50, owner of Kozi Media Design audio-visual architect firm, missed a nomination by just five votes with 32.45%.
Rosina Albanese will be the lone Republican for council on the November ballot. She was unopposed for her party’s nomination.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .