Westmoreland Republicans nominate Kertes, Chew for commissioner
Biochemist Doug Chew and Sean Kertes, chief of staff to retiring Westmoreland County Commissioner Charles Anderson, were nominated Tuesday as the Republican candidates who will seek to reclaim the GOP majority at the courthouse.
Kertes and Chew finished atop the Republican primary for county commissioner, besting a field of seven candidates.
According to unofficial results, with all 305 precincts reporting, Kertes claimed 23.7% of the vote, while Chew received more than 22.5%. The top vote-getters were separated by about 500 votes and were easily ahead of third-place finisher John Ventre (13.5%). Paul Kosko was fourth (12.2%), followed by Heather Cordial (11.7%), Patricia Fritz (8.3%) and Ron Gazze (7%).
“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be selected as one of the Republican candidates for county commissioner. I look forward to leading the ticket to victory in the fall,” Kertes said.
Chew said he’s open to teaming with Kertes.
“I’m excited about tonight’s results and excited about the future of Westmoreland County,” Chew said. “I look forward to meeting with Sean to talk about what we need to do to win in November.”
Chew had been critical of Kertes during the primary campaign and at one point suggested the two would be incapable of teaming up in the fall to run against incumbent Democrats Gina Cerilli and Ted Kopas, who were unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.
Early in the campaign, Chew blasted Kertes for taking campaign contributions from county vendors and suggested that as Anderson’s top staffer, he worked too closely with Democrats.
“I’m hoping Sean and I can put this primary behind us and move forward together. We have to work as a team and now we’re the two chosen that’s the best way to win in November.”
Chew, 48 of Hempfield, previously worked as a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh and now serves as a self-employed grant writing consultant. He is making his first run for public office.
Kertes, 32, of Greensburg, is also making his first bid for an elective position. He has served as a member of Anderson’s staff since 2016, having previously worked as a deputy county treasurer.
Kertes positioned himself as the lone Republican on the ballot who had experience in county government and touted his work with Anderson while also attempting to distance himself from his boss on several key issues.
He did not dismiss teaming with Chew.
“I hope to talk to Doug Chew very soon and have GOP leadership to work out a game plan to move forward,” Kertes said.
Anderson endorsed Kertes as his replacement this spring but has yet to throw his support behind another candidate.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .