Westmoreland commissioner endorses chief of staff in Republican primary
Westmoreland County Commissioner Charles Anderson on Thursday endorsed his chief of staff, Sean Kertes, as his replacement.
Kertes, 32, of Greensburg, has worked for Anderson, a two-term Republican commissioner, since 2016. Anderson announced earlier this year he will not run for re-election and will retire at year’s end.
“From my standpoint, Sean is the strongest member of the field,” Anderson said. “He sits at my elbow and gives me sound advice. The field (of candidates) is pretty broad and he is the guy.”
Seven Republicans have filed to run for commissioner in the May 21 primary. Anderson said he has no plans at this time to endorse any of the other GOP candidates, which include biochemist Doug Chew of Hempfield, computer information specialist Paul Kosko of Hempfield, retired business executive John Ventre of Hempfield, former chief deputy sheriff Patricia Fritz of Mt. Pleasant Township, Greensburg dentist Ron Gazze, and Heather Cordial, a senior citizens program director from Hempfield.
Incumbents Gina Cerilli and Ted Kopas are the lone two Democrats on the ballot.
Republican and Democrat voters will each nominate two candidates to run in the November general election, when the top three vote-getters will win seats on the board of commissioners.
Kertes’ has distanced himself from the other GOP candidates. He did not participate in a joint news release issued by Chew, Ventre and Cordial that criticized Cerilli for casting herself as a “moderate Democrat” who supported pro-life and pro-gun rights issues.
Kertes also declined to join with Ventre, Chew, Cordial and Gazze earlier this month to sign a pledge in which they refused to accept campaign donations from vendors who receive no-bid contracts from the county.
Anderson still has about $40,000 in his campaign account and said he will use much of that money to support Kertes’ run for office.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .